Monday, January 30, 2012

Spaghetti Carbonara

Bacon, eggs, cheese...it's like breakfast on pasta!
Recently I've come to terms with the fact that I need to learn to make smaller, single-serve sizes of meals. I typically don't have anyone else to feed, and I can only hog so much freezer space before the housemates start to get suspicious. So, after looking around the internet for a good one person cookbook, I finally settled on one called Solo Suppers by former chef Joyce Goldstein.

Although sometimes the title makes me a little depressed, it's a really nice cookbook to have. It's important to remember that the author was a professional chef though, so many of the recipes are more complex than what you will find in other "cooking for one" books because most take the fast and easy approach. Goldstein's require a little more time, energy, and care...but speaking from personal experience, so far everything I've tried has been worth it.

One such dish that I found in the book is Spaghetti Carbonara. Now, I'd never had carbonara before I made this version, but it's quickly become one of my "go-to" meals--especially now that I'm running and need a good protein kick every once in a while! This pasta is one of the quicker dishes in Solo Suppers, but it's definite comfort food and very filling.

Spaghetti Carbonara (adapted from Joyce Goldstein's recipe)
The cookbook makes a cameo appearance!

Ingredients

Thin spaghetti or other long pasta
1 tbsp salt
1 large egg
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 ounces turkey bacon (or normal bacon, or pancetta)
2 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil

Steps
  1. Timing is everything here, so you want to have all your ingredients ready to go when you need them. Start by slicing your bacon into 1/4 inch strips.
    Turkey bacon! It takes me a while to go through a package, so I freeze it in smaller portions.
  2. Put a pot of water on the stove to bring to a boil. Meanwhile, crack the egg into a serving bowl. Add the cheese and pepper and beat well. The mixture should be thick. Keep the bowl near the sink where you will drain the pasta.
    Beat it! Just beat it!
  3. When the water boils, add the salt and a serving of pasta.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the butter and olive oil (you can use smaller amounts than those listed) in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook about 5-7 minutes until done, but not crispy.
    Tasty turkey bacon.
  5. When the pasta is done, drain it in a colander and then IMMEDIATELY add it to the egg mixture. Dump the bacon and some of the drippings on top and then stir, stir, STIR. The heat of the other ingredients is what cooks the egg, so you have to move fast here!
    Now STIR!
  6. Keep stirring until the egg and cheese mixture becomes a thick, smooth sauce. Top with more cheese and pepper, if desired.
 Fast, simple ingredients, and delicious. All the requirements of a great meal for one!

The first time I tried it I thought it would taste "egg-y," but it really doesn't. At least, it doesn't taste like any sort of egg I've had before. The egg cooks into a smooth, creamy sauce that clings to the pasta just right. Mmmmmm.

And if you're worried about getting the egg cooked all the way, another method for making carbonara is to add all the ingredients to the hot bacon pan to mix them together. You have to be careful not to scramble the eggs though; some recipes suggest "tempering" the egg mixture with some of the hot pasta water before adding it to the pan to avoid this.

Either way...enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. This looks great! I love the touch of bacon! It looks as though it's also fairly easy to make (which is a requirement for a beginner like me)! Can you post more "solo suppers"?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback! I would definitely recommend it as an easy-to-learn dish. I've got some more recipes lined up that I'll be sharing soon. =)

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