Spaghetti with Bacon and Egg Sauce (Lean Version)
I have heard several theories about the origins of this dish, but whatever its true history, carbonara (from carbone, or coal) presumably refers to the generous sprinkling of coal-like black pepper over the dish. The Italians make this dish with pancetta, a subtly spiced, not smoked, variety of bacon. Canadian ham or lean bacon substitutes nicely.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturecheesy, creamy, garlicky, meaty, rich, savory
Type of Dishpasta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, bruised
- 1/3 pound diced pancetta, ham, or lean bacon
- 5 eggs
- ¾ cup freshly grated parmigiano
- Salt to taste
- Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ tablespoons salt, for cooking pasta
- 1 pound spaghetti
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, combine oil and garlic, and cook until garlic is golden; do not allow it to brown, or it will impart a bitter flavor to the sauce. Add pancetta, ham, or bacon to skillet and sauté until golden. If excessively fatty, drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat eggs, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste, and set aside. Bring 4 to 5 quarts of water to a rapid boil. Add the 1½ tablespoons salt and pasta and stir immediately, continuing to stir frequently to prevent pasta ribbons from sticking together. When spaghetti is al dente, drain it, taking care not to overdrain; it should still be dripping when transferred to a serving bowl, or pasta will be too dry.
Immediately add reserved egg mixture—pasta must be at its hottest in order for eggs to “cook.” Add ham or bacon and the 2 tablespoons drippings; toss together. Serve immediately—this dish must be eaten piping hot.
1991 Julia della Croce