Pantry Carbonara

Carbonara can seem fancy because there is a technique to getting those eggs to form a perfect sauce rather than become a scrambled mess atop your noodles. But my husband — with his Italian roots — reminds me that it’s really a simple supper, meant to be an easy weeknight meal using what every household would have on hand: a bit of cured pork, a scoop of Parmesan, a few eggs and some pasta. So, in that spirit of toss-it-together, here’s the carbonara recipe we like to riff from.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6 slices thick cut bacon (or 6 ounces of cured pork of your choice)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz. fettuccini (or noodles of your choice; wider are better)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place bacon or pork in cast iron skillet or frying pan. Cook over medium heat until cooked through and crispy. Dice into bite-sized pieces. Toss garlic into hot bacon grease and cook for a minute or two, until lightly browned.
  2. Bring pot of water to boil over high heat. Once rapidly boiling, add pasta of choice. Cook for 10-12 minutes until pasta reaches desired tenderness.
  3. Whisk eggs in separate bowl. Set aside.
  4. Once pasta is cooked, quickly drain water (reserving about a half cup of pasta water in a separate bowl). Return pasta to cooking pot. Add pork, garlic and Parmesan. Stir gently.
  5. Add eggs and stir. This is the tricky part. The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs. If the pasta’s too hot, the eggs might scramble. Not hot enough and they won’t cook. Add pasta water if more liquid is needed. Grind pepper on top. Serve immediately.

Note

Top with sautéed zucchini or mushrooms or a splash of freshly minced parsley to add some green to your dinner. Remember, this is meant to be a delicious, no-fuss way to make a meal out of whatever you have on hand.

Published by christinanifong

A writer of stories. About kale and turnips. Seeds and dirt. And, you know, life. Find essays, recipes and writing samples at christinanifong.com