15 September 2011

Pasta alla Carbonara w/ Peas

Yum, right? 

The first time I went to Italy was with my family while I was a teenager.  Pasta alla Carbonara was something we ordered.  A lot.  In every little city we went to.  I think this was partially due to the fact that every time we ventured into unknown territory we got something odd like pizza w/ a pile of pickled capers on it (true story).  So Carbonara was our safety food there.  And was it GOOD.  The Italian version is super simple and therefore super good.  Sometimes here in the States you'll find Carbonara with cream.  Stay away.  Make this & you'll never go back.

It is so easy and simple and quick.  Pasta.  Eggs.  Bacon.  Cheese. Pepper.  Seriously.  Everyone has that stuff on hand all the time.  Next time you don't know what to make for dinner?  Well you know now..... 

Pasta alla Carbonara.  Make it.  You won't be sorry.

This is the ultimate kid friendly, adult friendly dish.  It is soooo good - did I say that already?  Especially as we move into fall now and the smell of bacon in the house is so lovely.  Not that there is ANY time of year where we don't like to smell bacon...  

This is it for what you need.  I've added peas to the classic recipe.  When in season I use fresh peas but in a pinch frozen works nicely.  I use standard bacon.  Pepper bacon is good.  Pancetta is great (thick cut & diced) but I ALWAYS have regular bacon in my freezer
So first things first.  Cut 1 lb of bacon (or if you plan ahead Pancetta) into 1/4" slices and cook in heavy bottom pot / pan until crisp.  Use slotted spoon remove to paper towel lined place.  Reserve rendered fat for later & other uses.

In whatever beautiful bowl you'll use for serving add: 4 whole eggs, 1/2 C grated (fresh if possible) parmesan cheese, 1/2 -1 t ground pepper (start small you can always add more before serving).  Whisk together & sit near stove while you cook the pasta. 

A quick note on the size of this bowl.  You'll be doing some serious tossing in it later so go BIG.  Also a word about the cheese.  I buy the real stuff Parmesan Reggiano.  This recipe uses so few ingredients that they should shine.

Add a few tablespoons of the reserved rendered fat to the egg mixture. Stir. Now if this grosses you out go ahead and add a few tablespoons of Olive oil.  That is it for the "sauce".  You don't cook this sauce.   It gets cooked by the super hot pasta right before serving.  Cool huh? 

So here's my stove set up.  Notice the bacon draining.  The egg mixture sitting near by.  The water coming to a boil.  Don't forget to add a palm full of sea salt before throwing the pasta in.  This recipe is for 1 lb pasta.  I use organic whole wheat but you use whatever floats your boat.  Cook the pasta according to the package.

JUST before the pasta is done (like seconds before) throw in 2 C peas - frozen or fresh.  Cook while stirring 1 minute (I HATE mushy peas).  You should too.


IMMEDIATELY throw all the drained pasta & peas into the bowl w/ the egg mixture.  Stir very quickly to distribute the sauce (remember the hot pasta cooks the egg mixture into a lovely sauce - there should be NO egg chunks in the end result).  Finally grab all the bacon and toss it in or sprinkle it on the top. 

Ta Da!  You've just made authentic Pasta alla Carbonara!

Serve w/ more grated Parmesan, a big green salad and watch your family eat like never before!

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