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Spaghetti Carbonara - Classic Bacon, Egg and Onion Pasta with Cream

Updated on November 19, 2011

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta alla Carbonara

There are a hundred ways to do a carbonara. The origens of the name of the dish are unclear, other than it came from near Rome around the middle of the twentieth century. A cured pork, eggs, cheese and black pepper are the hallmarks of a quick sauce that is tossed with pasta for a luscious result. Which pasta, pork and cheese are variations that up to the cook. Any of the thinner noodles are fine - linquine, spaghetti or fettucine all work equally well. Italians tend to use pancetta of course, and American our beloved smoked bacon. Likewise, Italians seem to prefer Pecorino cheese, while this side of the pond the permutation of Parmesan makes that our staple. All of them are fine in my book - any thing involving pig and cheese is Golden as far as I'm concerned.

I do give a recipe here - but feel free to adjust as you wish. Use more cream and no wine, switch out the bacon for pancetta or country ham, use whichever cheese you like. The big thing in my flavor book is to deglaze the piggy goodness after the onion has sauteed - you could use a touch of chicken broth if you wish instead of the wine. Watch the heat when stirring in the eggs so they don't scrambled. That's the big (and only!) trick to this dish - which will quickly become one of your favorite go-to meals for just about any time you want luscious, filling and delicious!

Price Breakdown

1 lb 
1 lb 
Yellow Onion 
2 cloves
Fresh Thyme
2 sprigs
Dry White Wine
1/4 cup
1/4 cup
Green Onions
Kosher salt
to taste
Black Peppper
to taste
1/4 cup
Total Cost
Per Serving

The Method

 You'll need:

1 lb pasta - fettucine, linquini or spaghetti

1 lb bacon - or pancetta if you like, diced

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1/4 cup wine

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup Parmesan or Pecorino, grated

3-4 green onions, diced, including green tops

4 eggs, beaten

kosher salt and black pepper to taste

fresh chopped parlsey to garnish

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, in heavily salted water.
  2. In a very large skillet over medium heat, cook the diced bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels and reserve. There's a little bit of a timing thing here - I like to start my water boiling as I start the bacon cooking, but I don't drop the pasta in until the bacon is done. The sauce comes together in the ten minutes the pasta takes to cook that way.
  3. If you have more than a couple tablespoons of grease, drain it off. In the remaining grease, sauté the onions and garlic, along with the thyme. Cook until fragrant, and the onions beginning to become translucent.
  4. Add the wine to the pan, scraping up all the lovely brown bits on the bottom, and cook for a couple of minutes, or until the wine has reduced by about a third. Reduce the heat to medium low, and add the cream and cheese, stirring well to incorporate. Turn off heat.
  5. Taste, and adjust for salt and pepper. Lots of freshly cracked black pepper is a hallmark of this dish - so don't skimp on it.
  6. Whisking well, stir in the beaten eggs. Add drained pasta to the skillet, tossing to incorporate. Add reserved bacon and green onions, tossing again. Serve immediately, topped with a sprinkle of the fresh parsley.




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