Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bacon and Egg Pasta - Southernized Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Bacon and Egg Pasta - Southernized Spaghetti alla Carbonara. A simple combination of bacon, country ham or andouille sausage and pasta with cheese, this is a wonderful main dish meal, or even a late night snack!
Bacon and Egg Pasta - Southernized Spaghetti alla Carbonara. A simple combination of bacon, country ham or andouille sausage and pasta with cheese, this is a wonderful main dish meal, or even a late night snack!

Bacon and Egg Pasta

Although we have southernized this by suggesting the use of country ham, bacon or andouille sausage in place of the traditional pancetta, yes, I understand that this is not a "southern" dish. Nonetheless, I absolutely love it and prepare it on occasion for that very reason. This is just enough for two pretty hungry adults, though to be honest, I can pretty much finish it off all by myself, if not in one sitting, at least over the course of a couple of days. Hey, don't judge. The Cajun isn't huge on pasta dishes, well... unless they are covered in meat sauce, so usually this is reserved for just me around my house.

It's a great main dish meal, but it also makes a perfect midnight snack, which apparently is where it is very often consumed. To avoid scrambling the eggs, I recommend having everything all measured out, lined up, and ready to go - like you do with a stir fry - so once the pasta is cooked you just stir in the cheese, seasonings, meat and beaten egg very quickly.

Some people like their carbonara with romano, but personally, I prefer parmesean over romano cheese in this dish because to me romano is too strong of a flavor, but you can use either. A good, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano is the best for this dish, though regular Parmesan will certainly do. I highly recommend going with the country ham or andouille over regular old bacon if you can find it, but if you can't, bacon works perfectly fine. Either way ... just delicious - here's how to make some for yourself!

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Recipe: Bacon and Egg Pasta

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 15 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1/2 pound angel hair, spaghetti or linguini pasta
  • 1/2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated, quality Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Yolks from 2 large eggs

Important: Once it's time to put this together, you need to move fast so as not to have scrambled eggs on your hands, so best to have everything in bowls ready to go.

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the salt, and cook the pasta to al dente, about a minute less than the package directions. Mix together the remaining salt, pepper, parsley and parmesan cheese in a small bowl; set aside. Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl; set aside. Mince the garlic.

Saute the bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy; remove and set aside. Reserve one strip for garnish and chop remaining bacon. Remove all but one tablespoon of the drippings from the pan and add garlic to the drippings, just before you drain the pasta, but take care not to burn it. Drain the pasta and immediately place it into the pot with the garlic; toss. Add the seasonings and cheese; toss and add the bacon. Remove the pan from the heat, add eggs and keeping stirring and tossing until everything is well blended. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, plate and garnish with additional parsley, bacon and cheese; serve immediately.

Raw Egg Caution: Although the hot pasta cooks the egg yolk, a caution is extended to children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, who may need to avoid dishes using raw eggs.

Creamy Bacon and Egg Pasta: Prepare as above except, just before adding pasta to the pot, add 3/4 cup half and half and bring to a boil. Add pasta and proceed with recipe.

Cook's Notes: May substitute andouille sausage or country ham cooked in one tablespoon of oil. Add in one, diced and cooked carrot and/or one cup frozen, thawed peas, if desired.


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Posted by on January 27, 2009

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