Sophia Loren famously said, "Everything you see I owe to pasta" and if true, there is plenty more where that came from. Pasta is ubiquitous in Italy and what simplicity does for just about every other ethnic food that has been “Americanized” it provides in spades for healthy Italian cooking.
Spaghetti carbonara is a quintessential southern Italian dish that we found up and down our tour of “lo stivale,” or “the boot” and it could not be easier. If you have a fist full of pasta and the makings of a bacon and cheese omelet you are on your way to this hearty plate of goodness from “Il bel paese,” the beautiful country.
Though we can proudly say we made our own pasta in class, there is no shame to be had in any Italian kitchen for using a good dried pasta. A trick we learned to making dried pasta pretty much perfectly every time was to bring salted water to a boil, add the pasta, stir, bring to a second boil, turn off the heat, cover, let sit for 20 minutes and stirring mid-way through. Who knew “al dente” could be so easy?
Sometimes after cooking, you just need an nap.............or a beer!
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
2 Tablespoons olive oil 3/4 cup pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice 1 pound spaghetti 8 large eggs 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 1/2 cup grated pecorino Freshly ground black pepper & salt to taste 4 scallions, cut on a severe bias
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil over medium heat.
Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta a medium heat and cook until it starts to color and become crisp. Turn off the heat and reserve.
Drop the pasta into the salted boiling water and cook it 1 minute less than it says on the package, usually about 6 to 7 minutes. Bite the pasta to check the consistency.
While the pasta is cooking, crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the grated cheeses and season with salt. Whisk vigorously until it becomes a homogenous. Season generously with black pepper.
When the pasta is just about done, return the pan with the pancetta to medium heat. Remove the pasta from the cooking water. Toss or stir the pasta into the pancetta to coat the pasta with the remaining fat in the skillet. Immediately vigorously stir the egg mixture into the pasta. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly until the egg mixture looks like a cream sauce.
Serve immediately garnished with sliced scallions.