Pasta Carbonara (aka: Breakfast Pasta)

Pasta Carbonara (aka: Breakfast Pasta)
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This is one of the first dishes I made when I started getting serious about cooking. It’s a traditional and authentic recipe from Italy and it’s easy to make: all of which makes this a good dish to make for novice home cooks.

This is Italian comfort food. It’s as warm and fuzzy and comfortable as a glass of brandy on a cold day.

 

Ingredients for pasta carbonara
You can use American bacon to make this dish but traditionally it’s made with pancetta, which is available in most supermarkets in the deli section.

 

I call it “breakfast pasta,” because you use bacon and eggs to make it. The traditional recipe calls for pancetta, which is often referred to as Italian bacon, but to be honest, I always made it with good old American bacon and it’s wonderful (some might say even better). I now often make it with whatever pork product I have on hand.

This time I had some leftover pancetta (from the Ribollita soup I made last week) and some Italian sausage (left over from the tomato sauce I also made last week). So I decided to use both and the combination gave it more flavors to savor.

 

Pancetta and sausage cooking.
Whatever meat you use be sure to cook it thoroughly and it turns a little crispy.

 

If you make it using pancetta, you get wonderful, juicy pieces of pork and fat; crumbled Italian sausage adds depth and a smoky flavor; while American bacon gives it a crispy, salty, sweetness that is like heaven on your tongue.

 

A bowl of pasta carbonara.
Save a little grated cheese to sprinkle on top of the dish.

 

Yes, this dish is fatty and oily because you use the bacon/pancetta/sausage drippings to flavor the pasta, but you’re not eating it every day. Save it for a special weeknight meal when it’s cold and rainy, or snowing. And pair it with a good bottle of red table wine or even a bold, heavy white.

As the Italians say, “cin cin” (pronounced, “chin, chin”), which is a toast meaning “to your health!”

 

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Pasta Carbonara

March 18, 2012
: 6-8
: 20 min
: Easy

This comes together quickly and would make a good, easy, weeknight supper.

By:

Ingredients
  • Butter (1 tbl.)
  • Linguini (1 lb.)
  • Bacon or Pancetta and/or Italian sausage (minced, 1 lb.)
  • Onion (1 small)
  • Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese (grated, 2 tbl.)
  • Eggs (2, large)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Parsley (a small bunch, minced)
Directions
  • Step 1 Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook linguini until “al dente.” While water heats up, do the following:
  • Step 2 Saute the onion in butter until soft, just turning color.
  • Step 3 Add minced bacon or pancetta and/or sausage and saute until soft, just a little crispy.
  • Step 4 Beat 2 eggs, add grated cheese and mix well.
  • Step 5 Add pepper and 1 tbl. of minced parsley to bacon and onion in the pan. Stir to cook.
  • Step 6 The rendered oils from the bacon or pancetta are a major flavor ingredient of this recipe so do not remove the oil from the pan.
  • Step 7 Quickly drain the linguini and place in a large bowl.
  • Step 8 Add egg-cheese mixture to saute pan (removed now from heat) and stir well.
  • Step 9 The heat of the ingredients and the pan will cook the egg somewhat, so keep the mixture moving.
  • Step 10 Taste, add salt or pepper if needed.
  • Step 11 Add mixture to linguini and serve immediately.

 

 


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