We had all sorts of grand plans for dinner last night--and watching cooking shows only added more ideas. However, it was a Friday evening, after a long week, and I had no desire to tackle a grocery store. When in doubt, pasta, right? Except that I didn't want plain pasta with things just added on top. The basic carbonara sauce isn't as heavy as some restaurants would have you think. There's no cream, and only two eggs for an entire pound of pasta. Bacon and cheese are featured, but it's all about balance, right? It's quick, easy, uses ingredients you probably already have, and, done right, is so very satisfying.
(four generous servings)
1 lb pasta (any shape works, but something that will hold the sauce is good)
1 c grated parmesan
12-16 oz bacon
olive oil (opt.)
freshly ground pepper
1. Bring a large, salted, pot of water to a rolling boil and cook til done. Just before the pasta is done, set aside up to a cup of the pasta water.
2. In the meantime, slice the bacon across the strips, so it's in fairly small pieces, and then saute in a large frying pan til crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on a paper towel. At this point you can, as I did, pour off a some of the bacon fat from the pan and add in some olive oil, or you can just go with all bacon fat.
3. Mix together the eggs and the parmesan in a small bowl. It will be very thick.
4. When the pasta is done, pull it out of the water and add it into the frying pan, tossing it to make sure it's thoroughly coated in oil. Then add the egg/cheese mixture and, working quickly so the egg doesn't scramble, mix everything together. Add the bacon back in to the pan, mix again, and season with pepper. If the pasta seems very dry, add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up. Add some fresh parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.
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