Ever since I sat down and really looked at what we were spending on take-out, I have been on the search for quick, easy, and delicious meals to make for those late nights.  Pasta is always a good fall-back on dish to have around the house.  We do enjoy making our own pasta but for emergency meals, I always keep some dried pasta on hand, just in case.  Another staple that I keep in the freezer is a little pancetta;  it is a great addition to eggs, salads, and pasta.  My take on Pasta Carbonara has become a regular guest at our dinner table.  This recipe is a little salty.  A little spicy.  A little creamy.

When I mentioned my new found late night nibble to a couple friends, they all asked the same thing, “aren’t you afraid of using raw eggs?”  I had never really thought about it before, and in all honesty I did not want to start worrying about it;  but, I wanted to serve this dish to some dinner guests, and figured this would be a good time to figure out a way to avoid the “raw egg” issue. For this recipe I coddle the eggs with the boiling pasta.  Then before serving, I toss the pasta with the coddled egg yolks, and then add the sizzling hot sauce, and the cheese, lightly tossing just to combine, to make a creamy sauce that hugs every strand of pasta.  This is going to become your fall-back-on recipe;  I just know it!

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Recipe:  Pasta Carbonara

*serves 4

What you need:
  • 8 slices pancetta, small dice
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
  • pinch dried chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian Parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • sprinkle of fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 coddled eggs, yolks only (I don’t like the texture of the runny whites with the pasta)
  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked according to directions
  • handful shaved parmigiano cheese
What you need to do:

In a large saucepan, heat water to boiling, and cook pasta according to directions.  2 minutes before the pasta is finished cooking, add the eggs to the cooking pasta. Cook the eggs for the last couple of minutes with the pasta.  Remove from the water, set aside, and drain the pasta.

While the water is boiling, and the pasta is cooking;  heat a large frying pan, over medium heat.  Add the olive oil, and the pancetta;  cook, over medium heat, until the pancetta begins to get a little crispy;  about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, and chili pepper, stir;  over medium heat, cook until lightly golden;  about 2 – 3 minutes.  The bottom of the pan will begin to crust a little. Add the wine, and deglaze the pan.  Cook over low heat, until reduced; about 10 minutes.  Add the parsley, and the butter.  Stir, and cook, over medium high heat, for 1 minute;  slight bubbles will begin to form.  Remove from heat.

Working quickly as you do not want to lose any heat, add the drained pasta, and the coddled egg yolks to a large serving bowl, and toss using two spoons.  Add the hot pancetta sauce, and cheese;  toss quickly until creamy.  Season with salt, and a generous sprinkle of black pepper.  Serve.  Eat.

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If you like this recipe, check these out:

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara with Poached Egg

Asparagus and Chicken Pasta Carbonara

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