Spaghetti Carbonara is a quick and easy Italian pasta dish consisting of only a handful of ingredients, but boasting incredible flavor. The dish, thought to have originated in Rome in the 1900’s, typically uses spaghetti as the pasta. However, other types of pasta such as fettuccine, linguine, and rigatoni can also be used.
Susan and I had Spaghetti Carbonara at a little Italian restaurant close to our hotel in Paris. She’s been wanting me to make it ever since. Better late than never! I decided to use America’s Test Kitchen’s Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara as a starting point.
Ingredients for Quick and Easy Spaghetti Carbonara:
I used the following ingredients for this delicious dish: Thick cut bacon, water, garlic, eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, spaghetti, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. You could also use regular bacon or pancetta in place of the thick cut bacon.
Making Spaghetti Carbonara:
I started by cooking the bacon in some water over medium heat until the water evaporated. This took about 10 minutes. The reason for starting the bacon in water was to provide a more chewy texture. After the water evaporated, I reduced the heat to medium low, and continued cooking the bacon until it had browned. This took another 10 minutes or so.
I added the garlic, and cooked the mixture for about 30 seconds until the garlic was fragrant. Then, I dumped the bacon in a wire strainer set over a bowl to strain out the fat.
Next, I whisked the eggs, egg yolk, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and freshly ground black pepper together in a bowl. I added a tablespoon of the bacon fat to the egg mixture, and continued whisking until everything was well combined.
I cooked the spaghetti in a minimum amount salted water until it was al dente. The reason for the minimum amount of water was to concentrate the starches in the water. I drained the spaghetti in a colander that I had set over a large bowl, and reserved a cup of the cooking liquid. I discarded the remainder of the cooking liquid, and dumped the spaghetti in the now empty bowl that had been warmed by the cooking liquid. Next, I slowly whisked about half of the cooking liquid into the egg mixture, and gradually poured it over the spaghetti.
I used tongs to toss the spaghetti to coat it with the egg mixture. The combination of adding the hot starchy cooking liquid to the eggs, and adding the egg mixture to the hot spaghetti served to stabilize and cook the eggs without causing them to curdle.
Finally, I added the bacon, and continued tossing the spaghetti until the sauce thickened and became creamy. This took several minutes.
Quick and Easy Spaghetti Carbonara
- 8 ounces thick cut bacon about 6 slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 ounces) Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Add bacon and water to a 10-inch skillet set over medium heat. Bring water to a simmer, and cook until the water evaporate and the bacon begins to sizzle, 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking bacon until the fat renders and the bacon browns, 10 minutes longer. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Strain bacon mixture in wire strainer set over a bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and pepper together in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of bacon fat; whisk to combine.
- Place colander in a large bowl.
- Bring 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a large pan. Add spaghetti, and cook according to package directions until al dente.
- Drain spaghetti in colander set in bowl, reserving cooking water. Pour 1 cup of cooking water into a measuring cup; discard remaining cooking water. Add spaghetti to now empty bowl.
- Slowly whisk 1/2 cup of reserved cooking water into egg mixture. Gradually pour egg mixture over spaghetti, tossing to coat. Add bacon mixture; toss to combine. Let spaghetti rest, tossing frequently, until sauce has thickened slightly and coats spaghetti, 2 to 4 minutes. Add additional cooking water if necessary.
- Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.