Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara (mrsbecky07)

Source: Rachael Ray’s “30 Minute Meals 2” cookbook.

One of my husband’s favorite meals.  We love it so much that whenever I see other recipes for carbonara that involve cream or anything I can’t bring myself to make them, because for us this is the best. No idea how authentic it is, but boy is it yum-o!! 

Ingredients:

  • Salt
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1/3 pound pancetta, cured Italian meat, available at deli counter, chopped  (note: we always just use bacon, I think it adds more flavor.)
  • Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan)
  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or 6 or 7…..)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, a few pinches, crushed in palm of hand
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons (about 2 palmfuls) grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more, for sprinkling
  • A handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When water is rolling, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente, about 8 minutes, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.

    While pasta cooks, heat large skillet over moderate heat. Saute pancetta in a drizzle of oil until it browns, 3 to 5 minutes. (Note: the bacon takes longer, sometimes as long as 10 minutes to cook up.)  Add extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and crushed pepper flake. Saute garlic 2 minutes. Add wine or stock to the pan and reduce liquid by half, 2 minutes. 

    Beat together egg yolks, cheese, and while whisking vigorously, stir in a ladle of the boiling pasta water. Beat in parsley and pepper and set aside.  (I never beat the cheese, parsley and pepper in with the eggs; I add the cheese and spices after I’ve tossed the pasta with the eggs.  But definitely use the boiling pasta water to “temper” the eggs and keep them from scrambling when tossed with the hot pasta.)

    Drain pasta. Add pasta to pan with sauce. Toss pasta with pancetta, then add egg mixture and toss 1 minute, then remove from heat. Continue to toss until sauce is absorbed by and thickly coating the pasta. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve with extra cheese, for passing.

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