Easy Recipes for Stay-at-Home-Dads: Easy Pasta Carbonara
When our son first joined our family, my wife and I agreed that, as soon as he was able to eat regular food, we were not going to make him separate meals. We both liked cooking and trying new and different meals. Though we would not subject him to my occasional Japanese or Chinese meal forays, we would not limit his meals choices solely to chicken nuggets and burgers.
When he got to about four, he and I reached détente about food as well. As long as I occasionally made mac-and-cheese, hot dogs, grilled cheese, pizza and hamburgers (“without all the fancy stuff”) he would, at least, try whatever I made (broccoli, cabbage, lima beans, liver and some forms of shell fish were, however, specifically excluded from the treaty.) After congratulating myself on this easy win, I realized I might have also just boxed myself in (‘trying,” of course, being a flexible term, did not necessarily mean eating). When I first realized this I sometime would, as discussed in a previous post, “rebrand” a meal with some innocuous name (the Salisbury steak example). As he grew older he pretty quickly saw through that ploy. Another, more successful, move was to “layer” a meal (make some meals with ingredients he liked but add additional ones he was not crazy about after I had served his). If you are confused, I will use the following recipe as an example.
I came upon this meal, which I’ll call “Easy Pasta Carbonara,” when driving in the city last year and listening to an interview with a chef (whose name presently escapes me). The meal is basically cooked plain pasta subsequently mixed with other items before being served. As my son likes pasta (only with butter sauce) I pull his plain portion out of the pot as soon as it is cooked (add some melted butter) and continue with the recipe for my wife and me.
1 box spaghetti (we use the whole wheat variety)
6 bacon slices (chopped into small bits)
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
First, cook the pasta as directed on the package. We use the whole package as this dish can be subsequently refrigerated and warmed for breakfast or lunch the next day. Using the whole box and cooking the meal as described gives us about six portions.
Second, heat a large skillet over a medium-high flame to cook the bacon bits until they begin to crisp.
Third, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to dry.
Fourth, add the oil to the skillet to sauté the onion for about a minute.
Fifth, add the garlic. Cook both for another minute while gently pushing both around the pan. Take the mixture out of the skillet with the slotted spoon and place on a dish.
Sixth, if you have someone not interested in anything but plain pasta, remove his portion when the pasta is cooked.
Seventh, when the pasta is cooked, dump the water out of the pot BUT DO NOT RINSE THE PASTA WITH COLD WATER.
Eighth, add the raw eggs to the hot, cooked pasta. Stir the mixture, allowing the eggs to mix entirely with the pasta. The heat from the cooked pasta cooks the eggs.
Ninth, add the bacon, garlic, onion and the grated cheese and continue to stir. You can also add salt and pepper, if desired.
Patience with this meal seems to have paid off as the last time I made it my son ate it with the eggs.