Sunday, December 6, 2009

A simple but satisfying dinner

Spaghetti carbonara always brings to mind the great New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin and his effort to get it to replace turkey at the Thanksgiving table.

Spaghetti carbonara is a staple in the Richardson household throughout the year, although usually it is a dish of last resort when there's nothing fresh to fix. But that doesn't make it a bad thing. It is especially good to serve to company who drops in unannounced; nice but not special enough to inspire repeat unannounced visits.

Here's my recipe for it, although cooked bacon bits (the real thing) from the fridge sometimes sub in for the cooked bacon, making it REALLY fast food. This is for four people, but it is easily halved. Serve with a salad, stewed tomatoes or a side of your favorite green vegetable.

Spaghetti Carbonara
4 slices bacon, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 clove minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces spaghetti, cooked until al dente
2 large eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon each milk and pasta water
Salt to taste
4 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a large saute pan or wok over medium heat, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove bacon with slotted spoon or spatula and allow to drain on paper towels. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds, and season with pepper. Add back the bacon and pasta and saute for 1 minute. Season the eggs with salt. Remove the pan from heat and add eggs, stirring quickly, until eggs thicken but do not scramble. Add the cheese and taste; adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.

To make with real bacon bits: Sauté garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 4 tablespoons bacon bits and the pasta to the pan and season with pepper. Sauté until heated thoroughly. Season the eggs with salt. Remove the pan from heat and add eggs, stirring quickly, until eggs thicken but do not scramble. Add the cheese and taste; adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.

2 comments:

  1. DB/Riverside12/9/09, 1:25 PM

    Sounds wonderful. I think Candia made something similar last night. Used TJ's fresh salsa. (I washed the dishes.)

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  2. Yumm, one of my faves, but I've never had a recipe, just made it from memory after eating it in Italy years ago. I've got all the ingredients in the house, will try it tomorrow.

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