When I’m pressed for time, low on ingredients, and everyone’s sick of spaghetti, I go for carbonara. It’s cheap, easy, and really tasty. Our picky preschooler eats gobs of it every time I make it. Here’s the recipe, with a few mentions of our family’s tweaks.
Photo by Culinary Curiosity
- salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or rigatoni
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped (We do 1/2 pound of ground beef because we can’t get pork products here. Crumbled bacon would also work, I imagine.)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 large egg yolks
- freshly grated Romano cheese (we do mozzarella)
- handful of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (we do dried)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat (I use a wok). Add the olive oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta for two minutes; add red pepper flakes and garlic, and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add the wine and stir up all the pan drippings.
In a separate bowl, beat the yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.
Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with the meat and oil. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta, and toss rapidly to prevent the egg from cooking. Remove the pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper, and a little salt. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up the egg mixture and thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Garnish with the parsley and extra grated cheese.
Yum! This super-easy recipe is a family favorite, and it definitely works for us.