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Pasta Alla Carbonara - Classic Recipe

A couple of years back Dear Wife joined up with our youngest daughter after she completed her college semester abroad in London and together they toured western Europe.  They eventually wound up in Rome and dined in the restaurant where this wonderful dish was invented and from where it gets it's name (to be fair it must be noted that this claim is hotly disputed by some).  Upon their return home after having enjoyed the real thing they insisted that I didn't know what I was missing and the Carbonara recipe I used at home simply must be updated (I had been using a cream-based version in part to avoid the use of raw eggs).  It finally took Cook's Illustrated to provide the necessary inspiration having done all the research and testing and then reported in the September 2001 issue.  This recipe will harden your arteries just reading it but it is also to-die-for.  Modified only slightly from the one in Cook's this is absolutely spectacular!

1 tablespoon    olive oil
pound    bacon, cut into " pieces
cup    dry white wine
3 large    eggs
1 cup    good quality Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
4 large cloves    garlic, pressed
1 pound    pasta (I prefer piece pasta such as penne or ziti as it is easier to toss and mix with the other ingredients)
salt and pepper    to taste

Note:  Because the pasta should be mixed with the other ingredients as soon as the pasta is finished cooking make sure you've allowed plenty of time to cook the bacon.  I cook the bacon first and set aside.  That way I can prepare the rest when I'm ready without being rushed at the last minute.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the bacon until brown and crisped - just before the bacon is done, add the garlic and saute for about a minute.  Add the wine and simmer until slightly reduced, about 6 to 8 minutes.  Set aside until ready to finish as the bacon mixture will keep for a while.

Preheat the oven to warm, about 200 degrees.  Select a heatproof serving bowl large enough to toss the pasta in and place in the oven to warm.  Heat the water for the pasta and cook until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking beat the eggs and cheese together in small bowl and set aside.

When the pasta is done reserve 1/3 cup of pasta cooking water and drain pasta for about 5 seconds leaving slightly wet.  Transfer pasta to warm serving bowl adding some cooking water if pasta is dry.  Immediately pour the egg mixture over the hot pasta and begin to toss.  The hot pasta will quickly cook the eggs while mixing the pasta and egg mixture.  Pour bacon mixture over pasta and toss well to combine.  Add more reserved pasta water to thin the coating if necessary.

Adjust salt and pepper (should be generous with the pepper) and serve immediately.


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