You want to spend Valentine’s Day cuddling with your sweetie, not creating a big mess in the Kitchen, creating a big fancy dinner. But, at the same time, you want Supper (the prelude to an evening of fun?) to be special, even memorable, but not too heavy or filling. Here’s what I make…
Pasta Carbonara is a unique Pasta preparation that makes everybody smile. Except, maybe, the vegetarians. It’s basic flavour is Bacon. But even the non-meat-eaters will someday be able to enjoy this wonderful mouthful guilt-free if science come through for us on lab-cultured meats! But that’s another post.
Like so many classic dishes, Carbonara is more a technique than a hard-and-fast recipe. Spaghetti is the traditional Pasta to have with it, but you can use whatever you like. And you can vary the proportions of the ingredients to make it to your taste. More Bacon? Sure. More Egg and Cheese to make it Creamier? Why not. More or less Garlic. Go right ahead. Just don’t add any other ingredients or leave any of the prescribed ones out. If you do that, it’s just not Carbonara anymore. One thing you’ll love, for Valentine’s or any day, is that Carbonara is quick and very easy to make! You might even have all the ingredients in the house, already!
What you need…
2-3 tbsp. / 30-45 ml Olive Oil
2-3 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced or crushed
1 cup / 2250 ml Bacon or Pancetta, cut into Lardons
1 cup Dry White Wine
2 portions Pasta, your choice, cooked and drained
1 cup / 250 ml Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp. chopped Italian Parsley
2 eggs, or 3 for a creamier Carbonara
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper, to taste
What the heck are Lardons?
These are small pieces of Bacon that render quickly in the pan and turn into perfect, yummy little ‘Bacon Bits’. It’s a French thing. Cut your bacon or Pancetta into 1/4 in. / 0.5 cm strips and then cut the strips to 1/2 in. / 1.5 cm or so in length. Easy-peasy.
What you do…
In a large frying or braising pan, toast the Garlic in the Oil for about 30 seconds, just until you can smell that trademark Garlic aroma. Remove the Garlic and set aside. You just want to infuse the Olive Oil, not overwhelm it.
Add the bacon and stir occasionally until it crisps up. (You can be doing the next step while the Bacon crisps!)
In a good-sized mixing bowl whisk together the Eggs and Cheese. Add 3 tbsp. / 45 ml of hot (not boiling!) water, or reserved Pasta cooking water, if you like, and whisk some more, until you have a uniform, creamy mixture. Add this to the Bacon and Garlic in the pan stir until combined.
Add the Pasta and toss with the Sauce. Taste for Salt and add more if needed. Add a generous amount of fresh ground Pepper to taste and stir.
Serve right away with more grated Cheese and lots of Parsley sprinkled on top.
That’s all there is to it!
…Except to slurp it up, with your honey! Remember the Spaghetti-love scene in Lady and the Tramp?
~ Maggie J.