There are few foods as comforting as pasta. Seriously. Maybe it’s just the way I was raised, but on a dreary day nothing beats a big bowl of carbs. Growing up, my favorite was anything in a tomato sauce. I could have cared less about the meatballs or chicken that accompanied it. Don’t get me wrong, I love those too, but pasta in tomato sauce was what it was all about. Then I went to Italy.
Now, this isn’t one of those “I studied abroad and it changed my life” stories. Rather, this is a “I studied abroad and fell in love with carbonara” story. See, when I would order carbonara in a restaurant in the states, it was always heavy. Dripping in a thick sauce, the dish just wasn’t my thing. But at one of our group meals we were served carbonara. And unlike what I was expecting it was light and flavorful. The cheese and bacon gave it a nice saltiness, and it was creamy without being overwhelming. It was perfection in a bowl.
I’ve been on a mission to recreate this deliciousness. Not scrambled eggs with pasta like my mom ended up with when she ordered carbonara in Rome. Not an overpowering soupy mess that I had eaten a few too many times. Light, creamy, salty pasta. And, not to sound cocky, but I’ve nailed it. It’s like sitting in Florence without the thousands of dollars in airfare. On top of everything else, it’s quick and easy. It all comes together in the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta. Comfort in a bowl in twenty minutes? It doesn’t get better than that!
- ½ pound pasta
- 1 10 oz container frozen peas (about 2 cups)
- 4 slices bacon
- ½ onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- Black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to the package directions.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon
over medium heat. Once cooked, remove the bacon and saute the onion in the drippings until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another minute, until fragrant. Crumble the bacon, and put it, the onions, and the garlic in a large bowl.
- Beat together the eggs, cheese, and a generous amount of black pepper.
- When the pasta is done cooking, reserve about a cup of the starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta over the peas (in other words, have the peas in the colander, and drain the pasta into it – this will heat up the peas without turning them to mush).
- Transfer the pasta and peas to the bowl with the bacon, onions, and garlic. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the pasta, stirring continually. The goal is to cook the egg through the heat from the pasta without scrambling it. Add some of the starchy water and continue to stir, until all of the pasta seems coated (you probably won’t need the entire cup). Let stand for about five minutes for the sauce to thicken.
- Serve hot, with extra cheese and black pepper.