Every food has some kind of day to celebrate it. No, for real – I am pretty sure every single dish has some kind of day. I found out through scrolling Instagram that my favorite dish of all time has a day – today. National Carbonara Day is a thing. And I am going to celebrate the shit out of it by sharing my recipe for the very best and favorite carbonara. If a person could ever have a favorite dish ever in the history of all food ever this is that defining dish for me. There is nothing that even comes close to this for a favorite.
It’s stupid how simple it is…and most everything in this dish is sitting in the fridge/cabinets to make anytime. I have not found one person who doesn’t like this either (though I have not fed it to all my kids yet, only some so…).
I mean, it’s bacon or pancetta (the Italian, sexier version of bacon), eggs, pasta, black pepper and immense amounts of imported parmesan cheese. And a little bit of parsley, cause that’s how it was served to me in Rome.
Oh wait – and because it’s supposedly spring, though there is snow outside my front window, I like to include fresh peas at this time of year. Uncooked and tossed in at the end they add a subtle sweetness and a crisp texture that enhances the dish and gives it a lightness – like, it takes off some of the heavy richness from all the other ingredients. I don’t know how to explain it, just try it out, even if you only try it once with peas – give it a shot.
If you have never eaten this, then I don’t really know what to say to you other than wtf –howwwwww have you not had this before?
If you’re reading this right now and thinking to yourself, ‘I’ve had this before and she’s a liar, it had ham in it and some mediocre cream sauce with penne at my local chain Baker Square or Applebee’s etc.’ then all I can say it google the shit out of this – it is so not that. I remember bc I worked at Baker Square as a teen and it was on our menu and I never would have ordered it bc it sounded as gross as it looked. Some glossy white sauce and chunks of ham on penne noodles. Barf. And not what actual carbonara is.
THIS is actual carbonara……and once you make it you’ll hoard this recipe forever, I promise. As far as I am concerned this is something you could eat for any of the tree main meals per day – or all of them in one day.
Pasta Carbonara – the greatest dish of all time – on National Carbonara Day
Enough pasta for two people (whatever is your norm for two) cooked according to the package)
One cup of the pasta cooking water
Eight pieces of bacon or eight slices of pancetta (sliced about ¼ inch thick) cut into pieces
One cup fresh peas NOT COOKED – I only use peas in this dish in the spring bc they are available and delicious, all other seasons no peas or any vegetable
Rough chopped fresh parsley
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – as much as you like
In a large sauté pan cook the bacon/pancetta until crisp and rendered most of the fat. While this is frying up, whisk your eggs together in a bowl and set aside.
Remove the bacon/pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add a little olive oil to the pan and toss in your pasta and coat with all the fat and sauté for about two minutes. Add half of the pasta cooking water to start, and check the consistency. The point of this is to add a little salt to the dish and the starchiness of that water will make a slightly thickened sauce just to glaze the pasta. Sometimes I add the whole cup, sometimes not, you just have to eye it and decide. Really it depends on how starchy your pasta water is. Cook like down for about another two minutes.
Pull the pan off the flame and add the eggs to the pan, while tossing the pasta with a tongs and shaking the dish back and forth. You don’t want to scramble the eggs or over cook them so make sure to have the pan off the flame and to keep constant motion with the pasta. THIS is what will create a luxurious and velvety sauce instead of scrambled eggs clung to pasta. Toss in your cooked bacon, cup of peas black pepper, chopped parsley and as much parm cheese as you like. Plate it up and sprinkle with additional cheese and get ready for the meal of your life.