Spaghetti Carbonara is one of my all-time favorite meals to have. I am not a huge pasta lover, but Trey could eat it 24/7 and be happy :) However, this pasta dish is one I will always be in the mood for.
When I first looked up recipes for carbonara, I was immediately intimidated – “I have to make the sauce with a whole raw egg on warm pasta, off the heat, and somehow it becomes a ‘sauce’?” It sounds ridiculous, especially to those who may be weary of raw eggs (I am not one of those people for the record:) ). But once you cook this a few times and get the hang of it, you’ll have this fancy dish in your repertoire to show off at dinner parties!
Trust me – it’s not that hard. Seriously.
Half pound of boxed angel hair pasta
1/4 pound of thick cut pancetta (or thick-cut bacon, if you prefer), diced
2 Tbsp of butter or olive oil
1/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese (we prefer fresh – once you use a block of fresh Parm, you won’t want to use the green bottle any more)
1/2 cup of frozen, thawed peas — Optional (plus, I didn’t have any peas in the pantry)
Pepper, to taste
The best/worst part of this dish is that it all happens quickly. But don’t stress! Worst case scenario, just have your tablet with the prep instructions nearby or print the recipe. Luckily, there are only a few steps…
In a large sauce pan, heat the pancetta over medium low heat – you are aiming for it to be slightly crispy by the time the pasta is done.
In another pot, cook the angel hair pasta according to the instructions on the box (our pasta took 3-5 minutes)
When the pancetta is almost done, add in the peas and butter/olive oil.
NOW FOR THE MAGIC —
When the peas and pancetta are hot, turn the heat off on the sauce pan and remove it from the stove.
Now pull the hot pasta out of the water and add it directly into the sauce pan along with the pancetta and peas.
Toss the pasta with tongs in the pancetta, peas, butter/oil mixture until the noodles are coated with the butter/oil. Make a well in the center of the noodles in the pan and drop in your raw egg and cheese.
My egg slid off the well I made in the pasta, no big deal :)
Now use tongs to mix the egg, cheese, pasta, pancetta/peas together almost constantly. I usually grab some pasta from the center and lift it straight up about a foot over and over again.
JUST KEEP MOVING – if you slow down too much, the egg will start to scramble, not emulsify and become a sauce. The warm pasta and pancetta/pea mixture will melt the cheese and cook the egg in a minute or two. If it appears too dry, add in a tablespoon of pasta water.
VOILA! You’re done!!!