Pasta Carbonara was the very first dish I learned to cook while living in Italy. It is by far the most requested (and complemented!!) dish I’ve made in all the years I’ve been cooking. Home chefs love it because there are so few ingredients–most of which we almost always have on hand. Kids and husbands love it because there is bacon. #bacon
Traditionally, Pasta Carbonara is made with spaghetti noodles and pancetta as opposed to egg noodles and bacon. Although I am typically a food purist (no cheese with mushrooms or seafood, etc…) I did make these two changes for specific reasons.
One: Because the sauce contains such simple, soft tasting ingredients, I believe it’s flavor is more intense when served on egg noodles because they have a wider surface area. Plus, egg noodles are easier for kids to eat than spaghetti.
Two: It is difficult to come by really tasty pancetta here in McKinney, Texas. Were I still living in my flat at 36 Via San Antonino in Florence, I could visit il macellaio for a kilo of freshly cured pancetta every morning and make delicious tasting Carbonara every night! Because I’m 5,546 miles from there, I substitute bacon for pancetta. It’s cured a bit differently but serves the same purpose…and let me tell you…I honestly like it even better!! #BACON!!
1 (8 ounce) package No Yolk Egg Noodles dumplings **I like to use these because they taste delicious and they are low in cholesterol
3 TBSP Heavy Whipping Cream
1 heaping cup bacon, chopped (this is about 16-20 strips)
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded and divided
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Chopped Parsley for garnish
1.) Boil pasta in a large cauldron-like pot according to package directions. Strain and return to pot. Do NOT rinse with cold water. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil.
2.)While pasta is cooking, whisk together whipping cream, eggs, salt and pepper.
3.) After returning pasta to the pot, set the heat to medium. Add egg mixture along with the chopped bacon and 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese. Stir gently but quickly until all ingredients are well combined and egg BEGINS to set. Do not overcook–the noodles should look a bit wet, not like they are covered in scrambled eggs. This should only take 1-2 minutes.
4.) Serve immediately in a large pasta bowl with remaining cheese and parsley sprinkled on top.
-ciao for now-
ps. If you happen to have leftovers, this recipe is excellent reheated!
Photo credit: Patrizia Montanari