You know what the best thing about winter is? When it’s over. I do not enjoy snow, ice, or below freezing temperatures. When I get the chance, I will gladly move somewhere warmer than Kansas City. For now, I just have to power through and brave the cold. I find that a reward for my efforts is best served warm and in a bowl… A warm bowl of pasta, that is!
For those cold, lazy days I turn to a recipe I learned in my second semester of culinary school, which is a classic Pasta Alla Carbonara. I hardly ever order carbonara at restaurants, because what they call carbonara is spaghetti noodles tossed in a “cream sauce” with bacon and maybe peas. That isn’t carbonara, and it should only be done one way: the traditional way. Carbonara is a pasta dish that takes a max of 20 minutes to make including prep time. It’s a wonderfully satisfying meal that anyone can cook. Let’s dive into this rich, cheesy, mouthwatering meal.
What you need:
First, fill a pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Make sure to salt your water! Adding salt to your water will flavor your pasta. Otherwise, pasta is pointless. When the water comes to a boil, add the bucatini pasta and cook until al dente. Drain into a colander.
In a pan, add the diced pancetta, and render on medium heat.
Add the cooked bucatini pasta and toss together until pancetta is distributed among the pasta and covered in the rendered fat.
For this next part you’re going to need to move fast! Grate the parmesan cheese and set aside. Beat your eggs and set those aside as well.
Turn off the heat and remove the pan with the pasta from the heat source. You’re going to use the heat of the pasta to make your sauce. Add the beaten eggs and quickly incorporate it, then add the cheese and blend that completely. You’ll start to see a sauce-like coating form on the pasta.
Serve immediately; do not let the pasta sit in the pan too long or you might scramble the eggs. Once plated, sprinkle with chopped parsley and a little (or a lot of!) extra parmesan cheese.
Did I say I hated winter? Well I lied. I love winter because it gives me all the excuses in the world to make this dish. It’s -10 outside? I think I’ll make some carbonara. 8 inches of snow overnight? Guess I’ll just stay home and eat pasta. Winter can stick around a little longer.
PASTA ALLA CARBONARA
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
16 oz bucatini pasta (if your store doesn’t carry this, use spaghetti)
10 oz. Pancetta, small dice
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a roiling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain in colander, set aside and keep warm.
2. In a pan, add diced pancetta and cook until fat is rendered and pancetta is slightly crispy. Add the drained pasta to the pan and toss the pasta to evenly coat in rendered fat and distribute the pancetta.
3. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the heat source. Using residual heat, and working quickly, add the beaten eggs to the pasta and stir. Next add the parmesan cheese and incorporate. Sprinkle in cracked pepper to desired taste.
4. Serve immediately and garnish with chopped parsley and grated parmesan.