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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pasta Carbonara

Let's just say that the Super Bowl didn't end the way I hoped that it would.  I've been pouting all week.

Bummer for us Patriots fans.

There's a lot to be said for comfort food in times like this.

Today's Playlist
  • "Lazy Mary".........Lou Monte
  • "Another Saturday Night".......Sam Cooke
  • "The Wanderer"......Dion
  • "Botch-A-Me"........Rosemary Clooney
  • "My Girl"..........The Temptations
  • "Lean On Me".......Al Jarreau
  • "Bella Notte".......Lou Monte
  • "A Teenager In Love"......Dion
  • "Having A Party".........Sam Cooke
  • "Brown Eyed Girl".......Van Morrison

Pasta Carbonara
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup very finely grated Romano cheese
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 oz. diced thick-cut bacon (or pancetta)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 lb linguine (or other long-cut pasta)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
Gather your ingredients.

Bring a large (6 to 8 quart) pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the directions on the package.

Chop the bacon into 3/4-inch pieces.  

Heat the 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet or, as I have done here, in a saucepan.  I used a 3-quart saucepan, the higher sides will help prevent the bacon from splattering all over the stove while it fries.

And if you are using a non-stick pan, skip the olive oil.  My pans are not non-stick, so I only used enough olive oil to coat the pan so that the bacon doesn't stick.  All the fat is going to render out anyway.  I'll stop rambling now.

Add the bacon into the pan and stir it occasionally, so that it crisps evenly and the fat renders.

While the bacon is frying, prepare your cheese sauce.  Crack the eggs into a medium bowl.  Add the cheese.  

Romano is quite robust, so I take it easy.  But if you really, really like Romano cheese, go ahead and use more than 1 cup.

Whisk the eggs and cheese together until nicely combined.

By now your water should be boiling.  Add the pasta to the boiling water.

Don't forget to check on your bacon.  Here it is, all crackling and crunchy. I like it when it's totally crunchy with no trace of chewiness..

One time, we (Mr. Terrific, the kids and I) were on a trip to Disney World and we hit the breakfast buffet before we headed out to the theme parks.  There was a woman in the line ahead of us, loudly complaining that the bacon was burnt and she was demanding that they put out another tray of bacon that wasn't burnt.  And I have to tell you, the bacon was cooked perfectly, so crispy and perfect.  Not burnt at all.  One person's burnt is another one's perfect.  Just thought I'd share.

And now back to our recipe.
Remove the bacon from the pan when it is cooked to your liking.  And as I have told you, and as you can see here, my liking is crispy-crunchy.

By now your pasta should be cooked al dente.  Before you drain it, save 2 cups of the cooking water.  You will use this to thin the sauce.

Add one cup of the cooking water into the egg/cheese mixture, and whisk to combine.

Grind in some black pepper (to taste).

Pour the sauce into your drained pasta, and toss gently to coat.

You may have noticed that I have spinach listed as an ingredient, yet there was no spinach in the picture that I took of the ingredients.  When I took the ingredient picture, I hadn't planned on adding spinach.  

After I added the sauce to the pasta however, I called an audible, and decided that my pasta needed a little bit of color.  I grabbed a huge handful (about 2 cups) of baby spinach and tossed it with the pasta.

Use the remaining 1 cup of reserved pasta water to thin the cheese sauce until it's a consistency that you are happy with.

For the record, I added approximately 1/2 cup of the remaining pasta water.

Finally, mix in about half of the bacon bits.

I feel the need to warn you, the pictures I'm about to show you will never win any prizes.

Unless there are prizes for blurry pictures.

Serve your pasta, topped with the remaining bacon bits.  

You can also top it with additional grated Romano.  


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