I love eggs. To quote Dr. Seuss, “So I will eat them in a box. And I will eat them with a fox. And I will eat them in a house. And I will them with a mouse. And I will them here and there. Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE!” Scrambled, poached, fried, hard boiled…I will eat them – just not spoiled.
Many of my favorite meals (especially those I fashion from leftovers) are topped with an egg. Steak. Black bean soup. Grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Hamburger. Quesadilla. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, eggs are incredibly versatile. It should come as no surprise then that pasta alla carbonara is one of my favorite dishes. It’s rich, creamy, and incorporates eggs very delicately and deliciously. Plus, it’s quick to make and can easily be pulled together with ingredients you (should) have on hand.
The following is my version of carbonara. I use cappellini instead of the usual spaghetti to cut down on cooking time and use bacon and pancetta interchangeably. Also, if you don’t have white wine on hand, I’ve found a nice lager or ale acceptable substitutions.
For vegetarians: in place of pancetta, sauté 8 ounces chopped mushrooms of your choice in 2 tablespoons olive oil until browned.
SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA
3 large eggs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
4 ounces pancetta, cut into ¼” cubes (or 6 slices bacon, chopped)
8 ounces cappellini pasta
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup white wine
– Set 4 quarts water to boil in medium pot.
– Whisk eggs in large bowl. Whisk in ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and parmesan.
– Cook pancetta (or bacon) in a large skillet over medium heat until golden and some of the fat has rendered (if using bacon, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve), 4 to 5 minutes.
-Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon salt and cappellini to water and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water and drain. Return to pot.
– Add garlic to skillet and cook, stirring, until lightly golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine and remove from heat.
– Add cappellini to bowl with eggs and very quickly, using tongs or two large forks, toss to coat evenly. Stir in pancetta-wine mix (if using, stir in reserved bacon bits). If pasta looks a bit dry, add some of the reserved pasta water. Serve immediately.