Easy peasy. That's my mantra these days when it comes to dinnertime. And THIS dish, my friends, is definitely a frequent dish on our table. Soft whole grain noodles, crispy bacon, sweet peas, and a subtle but flavorful sauce created without butter, milk, or even flour. What the what!? Yep. Here we go...
Just coming clean on that one.
I've never been skiddish when it comes to cooking with raw eggs. Cookie dough danger? Hah! Forget about it. I've eaten the dough my entire life and never had any problems at all. I think it may have been something to do with my Mom not wanting me to eat the cookie dough so she could actually make a batch of cookies without half of it going missing before baking! All in all, we still did it. Little stinker, we were.
The core of a true pasta carbonara is the sauce. The sauce is made up of eggs, egg yolks, parmesan, salt and pepper, and... the pasta itself! Yep. I'll teach you how, it's genius how this amazing sauce comes together!
A couple steps need to happen before the egg-sauce-magic comes to the table. First, you cook up the bacon & save some of the drippings. Make sure you cook up a few extra pieces of bacon because if you're anything like me, you'll need to "sample" a couple of the bacon pieces while you work. Bacon is nature's candy y'all, I swear by it. Cook up a little bit of the garlic in the drippings (it will smell like heaven!), and use it up with the cooked pasta.
Next, you cook up about a half cup of peas (or more if you'd like, we had only a little bit leftover from another meal and I wanted to use them up in this dish. Always, always eat up your leftovers before they go bad. Never waste what you already have in your fridge - if that means incorporating it in a meal you are making, go for it!). Set it aside.
Now for the pasta! I always, always, always use whole grain, multi grain, and this time we tried some "ancient grains." I've always wanted to try the brown rice pasta, but we shop at Walmart and Costco for budget reasons (building our first home this Fall!), so that one will have to wait. I loved the taste of the ancient grains, and the other ones for that matter, but MAN my husband fights the grains like a beast! He wants white flour everything. But he still ate this dish with this pasta and finished his plate, so... ;)
When the pasta is hot and steamy, drain it (reserving about a cup of the starchy water it was cooked in), and place the pasta in a bowl with the raw eggs, parmesan, garlic bacon drippings, and salt and pepper. Stir, stir, stir! For about 4 minutes, let the blazing hot pasta cook the eggs. It won't scramble, I promise, if you keep stirring! And in this whole process, the eggs turn into this gorgeous, cooked, lovely sauce that flavors the pasta with something you're likely to crave again and again. Top it all with bacon and peas, and a little sprinkle of fresh parmesan and parsley, and holy smokes people - your taste buds will thank you.
makes 6 servings
8-10 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 C cooked peas
9 C water, divided
1 T minced garlic, about 3-4 cloves
1 lb whole grain pasta (or ancient grains like we did - yum!)
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley
1. In a large skillet, cook bacon and 1/2 C of water, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. About 5 minutes later, the water will have evaporated. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir, continue cooking until bacon is crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Drain the skillet, reserving about 2 T of the drippings in the pan.
2. Add in garlic and stir for about 30 seconds until lightly golden and fragrant. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, egg yolk, parmean, salt, and pepper and whisk until thoroughly combined.
3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring about 8 cups of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and a little bit of salt to the boiling water and cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving about 1/2 C of the hot pasta water (super important!). Immediately put drained & cooked pasta, and 1/4 C reserved pasta water, into the large mixing bowl with the egg mixture. Stir, stir, stir. Flip around and make sure the sauce is coating all the pasta. Let pasta rest, tossing every 30 seconds or so, for about 4 minutes. Sauce will thicken beautifully, if not, add in the other 1/4 C reserved pasta liquid. Add in bacon and peas and top with parmesan and parsley. Serve immediately, and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated