Mom’s Pasta Carbonara
Why we love it:
- 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt (possibly more, to taste)
- 1 pound Spaghetti
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated, worth the effort here!)
- 4 Eggs
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Black Pepper (possibly more, to taste)
- 8 ounces Bacon (diced, and use the whole package if you prefer)
- 1 cup Frozen Peas
1. NOTE: READ THROUGH THIS FIRST
It’s not hard to make this dish, but it is unique - if you haven’t made an egg thickened sauce like this before.
Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil (in a large pasta pot). Add 1 Tablespoon of salt. Add the spaghetti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. When the pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup of the water in a measuring cup, then drain.
3. EGGS + CHEESE
Grate the cheese. It really is worth grating it freshly from a large block of parmesan even though that takes time. Low quality or pre-grated cheese can clump and might not dissolve into the velvety sauce you’re looking for.
In a small bowl whisk the eggs, black pepper, and cheese until well-combined.
4. BACON + PEAS
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Dice the bacon into strips. Add it to the pan and sauté for about 3-4 minutes, or until it is crispy and golden and has rendered its fat. Add the frozen peas.
Turn the heat down to low. (If the pasta is not ready at this point, turn the pan off and wait. When the pasta is drained, return the pan to medium-high heat and continue).
5. MAKE SAUCE
Add half of the reserved pasta water (about ¼ cup) to the pan with the bacon. Toss in the spaghetti and stir over the heat for a few seconds until the bubbling subsides. Some of the water will evaporate.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture to it; keep stirring quickly as the eggs thicken. The residual heat will cook the eggs but work quickly to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
*You’ll see the sauce thicken up around the pasta, if it’s too thick (like glue) add a little bit more of the reserved pasta water.
*If it’s too thin, carefully place the pan back over low heat, stir constantly, flipping the pasta over, and heat for a minute or so at a time. Remove from the heat and stir. Replace on the heat as needed until it’s thicker.
A good sauce should coat the noodles but look smooth and still puddle underneath a bit.
Taste for seasoning; depending on the kind of bacon used, you may or may not prefer to add more salt.
Divide the pasta into bowls and serve immediately. Top with more cheese and black pepper to taste.