Pasta is a recent addition to my ever growing list of "things I love to eat." I find it somewhat odd that I did not discover the wonderfulness of pasta until recently. How did I not know that there were so many ways to make it besides just plain old spaghetti noodles and a jar of Prego sauce?! I use to just order chicken parmigiana every time I went to an Italian restaurant. But with the discovery of some amazing Italian restaurants in LA, like Il Capriccio in Los Feliz, where just this Friday I had squid ink pasta for the first time and it was phenomenal. Silky black and very smooth spaghetti noodles with a creamy tomato sauce, caramelized onions (...swoon...) and finished off with a healthy amount of shrimp. Wow. Who knew pasta could be this good? (I'm willing to bet a lot of people, just not me.) With my new found love for pasta I decided to try making a dish my friend always talks about when she goes out to get Italian food - Spaghetti alla Carbonara.
Here is where I have to admit that I have never had spaghetti alla carbonara before, so I can not attest to the authenticity of my version to traditional versions or restaurant versions. But I can say my friend and I went back for third helpings. Hey, it's Monday, it's practically still the weekend. Don't judge me.
Recipe adapted from Food Network's Tyler Florence
Servings 2-4 (depending on if you eat like me)
about 7 ounces dry whole wheat spaghetti noodles (about half a small box)
2 shallots chopped
8-10 Italian brown mushrooms sliced
about 8 slices of bacon chopped (or more if you like, it never hurts)
4-6 cloves of garlic chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup reserved cooking water from pasta, or cream, or low-fat milk
It is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta alone cooks the raw egg. Plan accordingly.
Heat oil in pan. Add bacon, mushrooms, and shallots. Saute till shallots are slightly caramelized and bacon is cooked throughly. Add the garlic.
Boil water for pasta and cook pasta according to directions on box.
Meanwhile, mix with a fork the egg, water or milk, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese.
After pasta is drained add the noodles to the pan with the bacon, mushrooms, and garlic. Saute briefly - about a minute. Remove from heat and stir in egg mixture. Stirring gently. You are not trying to scramble the eggs but instead make a sauce out of them. Add more water or milk if needed to achieve a saucy consistency that you like.
Top pasta with a healthy amount of parmesan cheese and freshly grated black pepper.
Enjoy! (I know I did!)
Peace, love, pasta, and happiness!