My Kitchen From Scratch

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Posted on: April 17, 2010

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Everything seems to taste better with bacon, don’t you agree? Well, not everything but almost. That smoky crunch in every bite is rather hard to resist if you ask me. So it makes sense why spaghetti alla carbonara tastes so good! Traditionally, it is made with guanciale, an unsmoked Italian jowl bacon. The pasta is tossed with the bacon and a creamy sauce made from whole eggs/yolks and a combination of pecorino romano and/or parmesan. In America, where guanciale is harder to find, chefs often use smoked bacon and it tastes just as good. If you’re looking to make a quick meal, skip your regular pasta with boring marinara sauce and start making spaghetti alla carbonara!

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1/4 lb good quality dried spaghetti
  • 3 streaky or thick center cut bacon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Cook spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente.
  2. While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the bacon on a pan until crisp. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat on the pan. Chop the crispy bacon into small cubes.
  3. When the spaghetti is cooked, transfer it to the frying pan with bacon fat. Make sure the pan is rather warm when you transfer the spaghetti. Toss well.
  4. Turn off the heat from the pan. Mix the egg with the cheese and pour it in to the spaghetti together with the bacon and parsley. Toss quickly. As the gentle heat cooks the egg, you will end up with a creamy sauce coating the spaghetti.
  5. Season with black pepper and more salt, if necessary and serve immediately.

Final Notes:

  1. Add 1 extra egg yolk or two if you like it more saucy.
  2. Make sure the pan is not too hot, otherwise you will end up with scrambled eggs instead of a creamy cheesy egg sauce. Another alternative which I would try next time is tossing the spaghetti with everything in a large mixing bowl. The hot spaghetti from the pot will be warm enough to cook the eggs.

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2 Responses to "Spaghetti alla Carbonara"

Kwoky, as I understand, the deliciousness of bacon comes from the fat, right? I’ve had spaghetti carbonara before (much to my dismay when I found bacon bits in it) oops!

I know this is unfortunate but is way bacon can be substituted for in this recipe? Turkey bacon?

Follow up question is the substitution of pork used in hokkien char mee…. I’ve read that pork is key :\
what do you think?

(love your food blog)
kat

Hi Kat, thanks for stopping by! I think there are a few non-pork options that will be just as delicious. Turkey bacon is one of them but when fried, it is more chewy and ham-my because it is so lean. So it doesn’t give you that crunch that you get from a regular bacon.

I would try beef bacon which I saw in Whole (Paycheck) Foods which has a little more fat or bresaola, a type of Italian dry cured beef like prociutto. Just crisp it up and enjoy. I heard crispy prociutto is delicious, so I figured it would work with bresaola as well.

Hokkien char mee is traditionally made with pork and some shrimp but I think it’s just as good without the pork. Yes, it’s going to be a little different but I think the sauce is key, not so much the pork. If you end up making it, let me know how it goes. =)

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