Sunday, March 8, 2009: Carbonara Pasta

When I was growing up, Friday was always spaghetti night. And it was always the same: spaghetti with red sauce with hamburger mixed in. I didn’t realize you could have pasta any other way until I was an adult and saw pesto, alfredo and other sauces in the grocery store. My mind was blown.

Since pasta makes a pretty decent leftover lunch (that is how we really determine our dinners: by what is still good the next day) I decided tonight would be a good time to use up the rest of the spaghetti in the pantry. Even though I have several jars of tomato sauce, the idea just didn’t seem very yummy. So I went to my favorite recipe website, allrecipes.com, and found a new way to make the cheap meal: Carbonara.

The recipe is easy and consists mostly of things I already have on hand (always a plus). I will need to walk to the store to pick up some bacon, Parmesan cheese and wine (an excuse to buy wine! the recipe calls for 1/4 cup…whatever shall I do with the rest of the bottle? Hmm…)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook chopped bacon until slightly crisp; remove and drain onto paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat; add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and heat in reused large skillet. Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Add wine if desired; cook one more minute.
  3. Return cooked bacon to pan; add cooked and drained spaghetti. Toss to coat and heat through, adding more olive oil if it seems dry or is sticking together. Add beaten eggs and cook, tossing constantly with tongs or large fork until eggs are barely set. Quickly add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that bacon and Parmesan are very salty).
  4. Serve immediately with chopped parsley sprinkled on top, and extra Parmesan cheese at table.

UPDATE: Logan loved this dish so much he asked me to make it every night for dinner. Matt isn’t sure; he thinks it is too much like fried rice (because of the eggs). I’m excited to try this with ramen noodles  instead of spaghetti, forget the bacon, and add in some veggie for some super-cheap eats/fried noodle type dinner. It was really, really fabulous.

I made Deep Dish Apple Pie from scratch tonight, too, and that was a fantastic way to end the week. Logan helped me to “taste” all the apples and spice mix; he mixed the spices and also helped me roll the dough. He also helped cut vents in the top crust and painted the crust with milk for the milk-wash. He is turning in to a real little helper in the kitchen. He was so proud of that pie; seeing his pride was better than any dessert could have been.

Pantry Recipe: make veggie stock for free!