As you may have seen in my previous post, I tried making fresh pasta the other day. I wanted to make something classic that I hadn't already made so I decided on spaghetti Carbonara. If you don't have fresh pasta, you can certainly use the boxed kind.
1 lb. spaghetti
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 package turkey bacon
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 whole onion
5 egg yolks
6 tbsp. cream
1 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, plus more for topping at the end
2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground would be best
3 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup of the starchy pasta water used to cook the spaghetti
salt to taste
First thing to do is add water to your pasta pot and bring it to a boil, making sure to season the water with some salt. While the water boils, dice the onion, mince the garlic and cube the bacon and transfer everything to a skillet with one tbsp. of olive oil. Stir around and cook until the bacon is really crispy, reserving a bit to garnish with at the end. Turn the heat off, but don't remove from the stove because we will be putting the pasta together in this pot later. In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, cream, nutmeg, Parmesan cheese, and a little salt and whisk well. Set this mixture aside. If you're using fresh pasta, it will only take about 3 minutes to cook, and this dish has to be assembled really quickly, so make sure everything is done before cooking the pasta. If you use the boxed kind, it will take about 8 minutes or so which leaves a little more prep time. Chop the parsley and set aside for now. Remember the pan with your bacon and onion and garlic? Now we're going to turn the heat of that pan to medium. Drain the pasta, reserving about half a cup of the starchy pasta water to thin out the Carbonara sauce later.
OK, now we have to work fast. Turn off the heat of the bacon pan, we just turned it back on for a minute to get the pan hot again. Transfer the pasta into this pan with another tbsp. of olive oil and coat everything around. Making sure the bacon, onion and garlic are evenly distributed throughout the dish. Next take the egg mixture and add it into the pan with the pasta, whisking really well, but gently enough that you don't break the pasta. It's important to have the heat turned off at this point because you don't want the egg to scramble. I found that mixing it with the cream helps to alleviate this problem. Next add in the pasta water and continue to combine all of the ingredients gently. I was a little freaked out about eating raw egg so adding in the boiling water of the pasta, along with the heat of the spaghetti noodles, and the heat of the pan, you should be fine. Me personally, though, that's not enough. I know Carbonara purists will not agree on this point, but once everything was combined, I turned the heat back up to low and tossed everything around in the pan for about two minutes to make sure this dish was salmonella free. It was probably fine before, but I didn't want to take the chance. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl, top with a little some of the bacon you reserved, a little parsley, some freshly ground black pepper and a little Parmesan, and there you have it folks- Spaghetti a la' Carbonara.
Here are a few action shots of how this dish came together...