It’s time to level up your pasta game with Spaghetti Carbonara! Don’t let a few simple ingredients fool you. If you’re not careful you’ll end up with scrambled eggs and bacon grease spaghetti. Let’s see how temperature control and timing are key to perfect Spaghetti Carbonara in 20 minutes.
Any time you’re making a recipe, or assembling Ikea furniture, or taking that one test in high school where the last instruction is to NOT fill out any answers and quietly hand in your sheet, you should always read all the instructions before proceeding with step one. I’ll try make this easy to start then get in to the details below.
Prep all your ingredients. Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook the bacon on low heat. Cook the spaghetti. One minute before the spaghetti is done slowly temper the eggs with 3 tablespoons of hot water. Turn off heat for the bacon and add 1/2 cup hot water. Use tongs to transfer the spaghetti to the bacon and toss. Slowly add the eggs and toss to emulsify. Add a handful of reggiano and 2 tablespoons of black pepper. Add hot water as needed to reach desired consistency.
Hopefully that comes across sounding pretty easy. That’s because it is! You’re probably a pro at boiling pasta and frying bacon by now, right? Two tips for that. Make sure your pasta water is nice and salty. The recommended ratio is 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 lite of water. I never bother with that and just add a few big pinches of kosher salt to a large pot of water. When it comes to the bacon the tip here is to slowly render the fat. Heat the bacon over low heat so all the fat will render and you’re left with crispy bacon without burning it. Personally, I started with the bacon right after I put the water on. The bacon was done before the pasta but I just heated it up a little when I was ready for the next step. And the next step is where all the magic happens.
In front of me is a large pot of nearly al dente pasta and a pan of warm bacon on the left and right burners. To the right of that I have a set of tongs, a tablespoon, a ramekin with two whisked egg yolks, a 1/2 cup measuring cup, about 3/4 cup grated reggiano, and 2 tablespoons of fresh coarsely ground black pepper. Here’s what’s going to happen in the next 30-45 seconds.
– Turn off the heat for pasta and bacon and add 1/2 cup hot pasta water to the bacon.
– Use tongs to transfer the spaghetti to the bacon and toss to combine.
– 1/2 tbs at a time, slowly add 3 tbs of pasta water to the egg yolks and whisk to temper.
– Slowly add eggs to the spaghetti as you stir and toss vigorously with tongs to emulsify with the bacon fat.
– Toss in grated reggiano and black pepper, keeping tossing.
– Adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding more pasta water. Stir vigorously.
DONE! Oh, Maybe garnish with some pretty green parsley or basil!
I have to say this is one of the most rewarding, indulgent pasta dishes I’ve made. The sauce is comprised of bacon fat and egg yolks but it’s not too heavy. I’ve come across recipes that use heavy cream and butter for the sauce but that’s just wrong in so many ways. Bleh. This is a great weeknight dish to whip together in a few minutes and I think a really great dish to practice some core cooking skills. I mean, this is definitely one of those dishes you need to know how to cook when you come home from a late night of karaoke #momsspaghetti
- 4 oz Spaghetti
- 2 tbs. Olive Oil
- 4 strips Bacon cut in to 1/4 inch slices
- 1/2 cup pasta water
- 3 tbs. pasta water
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- 2 tbs. coarsely ground black pepper
- Basil or Parsley for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Cut bacon in to 1/4 inch strips. Add olive oil and bacon to a cold 10" skillet. Redner bacon fat over a low flame for about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally until bacon is crispy.
- 5 minutes in to cooking the bacon, add the spaghetti to the boiling water and stir.
- Whisk 2 egg yolks and set aside with reggiano and black pepper.
- When the pasta is al dente turn off the burner for both the pasta and the bacon. Remove bacon from the stove top and add 1/2 cup pasta water. Use tongs to transfer spaghetti to bacon and toss to combine.
- Temper the eggs by whisking in 1/2 tablespoon of pasta water at a time for a total of 3 tablespoons.
- Slowly add eggs to pasta and bacon by stirring and tossing vigorously with tongs. If eggs start to scramble add a bit of cool water to further cool the hot pan.
- Toss in reggiano and black pepper. Use more pasta water to reach a desired consistency.
- Garnish with basil or parsley.