Simple Carbonara

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Growing up in an Italian-American family, I've always eaten pasta with fresh, homemade sauces.  I never quite understood the appeal of buying overpriced jars of pre-made sauce from the supermarket, until a friend recently told me that they just didn't have time to make their own!  What most people don't realise is that most Italian sauces are ridiculously easy to make, and can usually be made from scratch in less time than it takes to cook a bowl of pasta.  Here, I'm going to show you how to make one of my favourites - carbonara!

Carbonara is a delicious, rich, creamy sauce with cheese and pancetta (or bacon, if like me you can't be bothered to go out and buy pancetta).  What makes this sauce a bit unusual is that it isn't thickened with cream (although this is a nice addition) or a roux like you would expect, but with egg.  This makes it even easier to prepare, and adds a bit of extra protein (so you can even pretend it's healthy!).
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Step 1: Ingredients

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Here's what you'll need:

-pasta (I typically use dried, although fresh is even better!)
-grated parmesan or other hard cheese
-pancetta (or bacon, or prosciutto, or guanciale, whatever you can get your hands on really.  Alternatively, you could leave this out entirely for a vegetarian version.)
-black pepper
-cream (optional)

I don't usually measure my ingredients, which is why I haven't given any quantities.  As a rough guide, I usually use about 100g of pasta, one egg, a bit less than a tablespoon of butter, and one thick slice of bacon if I'm making this for myself.

Step 2: Getting things started

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Dice up your bacon or pancetta, and toss it in a frying pan over medium-high heat.

As soon as that's going, start boiling your pasta in water with a bit of salt added.  (If you're using fresh pasta, you may want to wait until you've done the next step before starting it, as it will cook much more quickly.)
dalvey1 year ago
I made it, I loved it.
I do believe I'll try making a variation of this soon. Perhaps with some smoked pork tasso and/or crawfish...
This is such a nice classic. Yum
So it's a whole egg and not just the yolk?
fireontheriver (author)  Pat_Maroney1 year ago
Yep. Some more traditional recipes only use the yolk, but I find it's just as good (and much easier) if you just use the whole thing. As long as you mix it well when you add the egg you don't need to worry about the white getting stringy or anything like that.
ChapDad1 year ago
I do a very similar thing, but since visiting Rome last year and discovering cacio e pepe, I pile on the black pepper. Also, a bit of parsley and lemon juice doesn't go amiss if you have them lying around. Added bonus: my 2-year-old hoovers this stuff up like there's no tomorrow. All good.
fireontheriver (author)  ChapDad1 year ago
That sounds great! I'll have to try that next time I make it.
Printy1 year ago
This looks so good! I want to eat it right off the screen. :) I will have to make a trip to the store.