A velvety, creamy spaghetti Carbonara with bacon that is full of flavor and so easy to make. Also, it's totally foolproof, so don't worry about messing it up.
Who doesn't like spaghetti?? Here at my house my kids' eyes shine when they see it on the table, specially if it has bacon, as in this easy and delicious Spaghetti Carbonara.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara is an Italian dish that contains delicious ingredients, like pancetta or bacon, eggs, garlic and cheese. Although it's very simple to make, many people struggle when making it, because of the eggs in the sauce. If not made correctly you might end up with pasta and scrambled eggs.
So, for this recipe, I'll show you a way to do it that is easy, delicious, and won't give you the chance to end up with a lumpy eggy sauce.
How to make Spaghetti Carbonara with bacon
Start bringing about 2 liters (or 2 quarts) of water to a boil. We'll purposefully use less water then usual, so we'll have a high starch concentration to thicken the pasta sauce.
While the water heats up, chop the bacon (or pancetta) and cook it in a skillet until crispy. When you see that the bacon is ready, remove it from pan and set it aside. Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan and add the chopped garlic. Sauté it until it starts changing color, being careful not to burn it since it changes color really fast. Remove it from pan quickly, so it won't continue cooking, and put it together with the bacon.
Now, about the cheese... It is important to use a good sharp flavored cheese, like Pecorino or Parmesan, because it's going to be one of the most prominent flavors in the recipe. If you use a not so good cheese, your pasta might end up with a not so good taste. Make sure it's grated by now.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and the yolk, and add a pinch of salt.
So, by now your water must be already boiling, and you can cook your pasta if you haven't already. Once the pasta is cooked (for the time stated in the package), get a mug and reserve 2 cups of the pasta water. Then, drain the pasta and put it back in the empty pan.
Important tip for a foolproof Carbonara
Now, the most important step for a perfect Carbonara: Very slowly, pour 1 cup of the reserved scalding water into the egg mixture. Whisk it constantly while pouring the water. This process will give you a few things: First, the scalding water will kill bacteria from the raw eggs. Second, the starch in the water will help you achieve the thickness and silky texture desired for the sauce. Third, it will be helpful to not scramble the eggs.
Pour the egg/water mixture over the hot pasta and add the cheese. With the help of a tong, toss the pasta to get it all coated. Add the bacon and garlic that were set aside. Toss to distribute it more evenly on the pasta.
Pronto! Now you have a delicious Spaghetti Carbonara just for you!! Just kidding!... It gives you enough servings to share with the people you love!
Carbonara with Chicken - Making it a 'Smart Dish'
If you are not familiar with this term, smart dish is the name I give to the dishes that you can create using leftovers from previous recipes. This way you can have a new dish without all the previous work, meaning less wasting of time and less wasting of money.
So, for this Carbonara, for example, you can use some diced chicken you might have hanging around.
In my case, on the day before, we had rice, salad and chicken breasts. So today for my Carbonara, I also added some cubed chicken leftover in the fridge, to make it even more filling.
Since my chicken was already cubed, the only thing I did was to heat it up in 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat.
That's it! Just 2 minutes heating up the chicken and it gave me a more filling and full of protein dish.
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Easy Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 2 quarts of water (about 2 liters)
- 1 ½ tbsp of table salt
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 8 oz of bacon (225 g)
- 2 ½ tsp minced garlic
- 5 oz of grated Parmesan cheese (140 grams) (of good quality)
- 2 cups of pasta water
- 2 tbsp of chopped parsley optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start adding about 2 liters or 2 quarts of water in a pot, and bring it to a boil. Salt it with about 1 ½ tbsp of table salt. Cook pasta for the amount of time stated in the package. Drain it reserving 2 cups of the cooking water.
- In the meantime, chop the bacon (or pancetta), and make sure that cheese is grated and garlic is minced.
- In a skillet, cook bacon until crispy. When bacon is ready, remove it from pan and set it aside. Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan and add the chopped garlic. Sauté it until it starts changing color, being careful not to burn it since it changes color really fast. Remove it from pan quickly, so it won't continue cooking, and put it together with the bacon.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and the yolk and add a pinch of salt.
- By now your pasta is already cooked and drained (don't forget to set aside about 2 cups of the pasta water). Place the pasta back in the empty pan.
- Now, the most important step. Slowly pour 1 cup of the reserved super hot water into the egg mixture. Whisk it constantly and vigorously while pouring the water.Once water and eggs are combined, pour the mixture over the hot pasta and add the cheese. With the help of a tong, toss the pasta to get it all coated.You'll see that the sauce will get thicker and will cover the pasta. Add more water from the cooking process if you feel that it's too dry. (I usually end up adding about 1 ½ cup of water in total, but that depends on your pasta and your preference).
- Add bacon and garlic, toss it again to distribute it more evenly on the pasta, and add parsley and pepper, if desired. Try it and correct salt if needed.
- Voila!! You've just made a delicious Carbonara!Enjoy!!
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