Good spaghetti carbonara is an amazing thing. Creamy, rich, and almost magical. EGGS MAKE THE SAUCE?! What is this witchcraft? And this carbonara, while not strictly traditional, does have the added lure of intrigue. My friend Tony convinced an employee of a certain factory that produces cheesy cakes to coax this recipe from said restaurant’s chef, who bent his vows of secrecy for her. We subtracted the peas, but you can toss in a cup or so of thawed frozen peas toward the end if you’d like.
This gooey, cheesy, creamy pile of pasta, dashed with chunks of bacon and garlic, is a caloric heavyweight. Make it for cheat days, celebrations, or any time you want to be put into a food coma. You can also split it into more than the recommended four servings as a side dish. And you get ALL THIS in only 15 minutes, start to finish. What a deal!
It took some begging, but when I told the chef it was for a friend’s son he gave in and scribbled down the ingredients and tucked them into the pocket of my apron. – Ex-Employee
You want this in your life.
Let’s get to it. I suggest you read over the recipe first to familiarize yourself with what needs to happen. Carbonaras have to come together with somewhat precise timing for the hot spaghetti to turn the eggs into sauce. Don’t let your cart get ahead of your horse or you’ll be left with a slimy, stringy mess.
- 1lb. spaghetti (1 pkg)
- 2T olive oil
- 2T butter
- 8 slices bacon, sliced into 1/4″ strips.
- 4-5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 C heavy cream
- 1/2 t red pepper flakes
- 1/2 t salt (to taste)
- 1 C frozen peas, thawed (optional: we didn’t add these)
Put a large pot of salted (about 2 tsp kosher salt) water on high. While you’re waiting for it to boil, grate your parmesan, cut your bacon, and chop up your garlic.
Get it together!
I put the sauce together before adding the spaghetti to the pot, so I wouldn’t feel so frantic. I still felt a little rushed toward the end but if I hadn’t done this I would have been screwed. Add the red pepper, salt, and cracked pepper to the cream (to flavor it? because the chef was messing with us? for extra steps??). Beat the eggs and extra yolks thoroughly in a deep bowl, and add the grated parmesan to the eggs, mixing thoroughly.
I am so glad I mixed this stuff up before the pasta was done.
When the water starts to boil, add the spaghetti, set the timer for seven minutes, and get to cooking.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a deep skillet. When the oil and butter are hot, add the bacon. I know. You just added bacon to oil AND butter. I was laughing helplessly at this point, in the way one does when dietary recommendations have been not only trampled, but also steamrolled.
Let it fry about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, until it is fragrant. You don’t want it to get brown and bitter.
All the fat in the whole world!
Right about now, the timer should go off and you should be able to drain the spaghetti. Check it first: it should be very slightly underdone. Be sure to reserve a cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce.
Add the hot, drained spaghetti to your Pan O’ Fat and toss for a couple minutes to coat the noodles. Then add a quarter cup or so of the hot pasta water to the egg/cheese bowl, whisking all the while so you don’t hard-boil the eggs. It will slowly bring their temp up, keeping them creamy. This is called “tempering” the eggs, because you are not supposed to lose your temper when asked to whisk, pour, stir, and photograph your steps at the same time. Oh wait, no, that was just my situation. I had to have someone step in on photo duty at this point because I ran out of hands.
I hope these photos convey my frenetic pace.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, quickly stirring. Add the cream mixture (more fat!!) and stir. The rest of that pasta water you reserved can now be used to thin the sauce if it is too gooey for you. Just add a quarter cup or so at a time until it’s how you want it. I only added a quarter cup total.
This was worth ALL the espionage.
Plate and season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper, parmesan, and salt if necessary.
Give thanks for cheesecake, larceny, and your deliciously creamy dinner.