Pasta Carbonara (30-45 Minutes of Total Cook Time)

Quick Overview: (Makes 3-4 servings probably)

Carbonara is a classic Italian dish.  There are various stories regarding its origins, but the ones I’ve heard all relate back to Italian miners as the “Carbonara” part of the dish’s name has origins with the Italian word for “charcoal burner”.

In its most authentic form the dish is made with pasta, Guanciale or Pancetta (Italian Bacon), egg, hard cheese, and pepper.  As you may have noticed, an authentic Carbonara uses no cream – so no Alfredo sauces – or peas, etc.  So how does it have a sauce then?  Well, that’s the cool part.  Using the heat of the cooked noodles, a sauce is made out of a mixture of cheese, egg, and oil!

So while this recipe isn’t an authentic take on the dish – it has extra additions such as spinach, shallots, garlic, etc. – the manner in which it is made is true to its roots.

Ingredients:

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  • Pasta (I used pappardelle as its very wide and provides a lot of surface area for sauce to stick to)
  • Romano/Parmesan/some sort of Hard Cheese.
  • Handful of Garlic
  • A shallot
  • A few handfuls of spinach
  • Two eggs
  • Bacon or Pancetta (decide on how much you want to use)
  • Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, and Red Chili Flakes

Recipe:

  1. Finely mince your shallots and garlic.
  2. In a small bowl, crack two eggs.  Mix a small amount of olive oil, salt, pepper, and shredded cheese with the eggs.  Set this aside as this will make up the basis for your sauce.

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  3. Take your bacon and slice it into small pieces.  Toss it with your garlic and shallots into a pan.  Turn the head to medium-low.  Turn it up once the bacon’s fat starts to render.  Carefully remove spoon out any excess fat, you won’t need all of it.

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  4. In a separate pot, prepare your pasta.  Follow the directions on the packaging.  Slightly salt your water.  Under no circumstances are you to add olive oil to the water.
  5. Once the bacon begins to cook to the point at which you want it to (i.e. how crispy do you want your bacon) throw in the spinach.  Leave it in the bacon, garlic, shallot mixture until it begins to wilt.  Toss a pinch of crushed red chili flakes and ground pepper into the mixture.  Once the spinach has wilted and the bacon is cooked to the degree you wish it to, remove this from heat.
  6. Drain pasta.  Do not run it under cold water.
  7. Immediately take drained pasta and combine it with the bacon, garlic, shallots, and spinach you just finished making.  Make sure they are not heat (i.e. not on the stove).
  8. Take the egg mixture you made in step two, quickly whisk it again to make sure nothing separated.  Once done, pour that mixture into the pot or bowl you have the mixture from step 7 in and combine.  The heat from the noodles will cook the egg.  Be sure to be thorough here as you want your sauce to cover everything (the sauce being the egg/cheese mixture).
  9. Finish with a pinch of cheese and some ground pepper. Enjoy!

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