When you’re in need of a quick meal, a creamy carbonara comes together in just a little more time than it takes the pasta to cook. It’s a humble sauce of starchy pasta water, eggs and Parm whisked into silky submission. And, chances are, you already have the ingredients in your kitchen. We have peas in our ingredient list, but if there’s a greens strike in your home, feel free to forgo them. Carbonara is easy like that.
3/4 lb (350 g) spaghetti
6-8 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup (125 m) frozen peas
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (185 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions, or until al dente. Scoop out about half a cup of the starchy pasta water near the end of the cooking time. Set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, set a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings, and set aside. Meanwhile, thaw the frozen peas in a bowl of hot water and drain. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and half the Parmesan cheese.
When the pasta has cooked, drain it well and quickly tip into the still-warm pan. Tossing with tongs, add the egg and cheese mixture and some of the hot pasta water—enough to make things saucy. Toss until the pasta is well-coated and the eggs are cooked through—some like their carbonara more scrambled-looking, others more creamy. Add the remaining Parmesan cheese, bacon and a good grinding of black pepper. Serve immediately.
532 calories, 13.4 g fat, (6.2 g saturated fat, 5.3 g monounsaturated fat, 2 g polyunsaturated fat), 165 mg cholesterol, 69 g carbohydrates, 28 g protein, 3.7 g fibre.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, April/May 2016.