Capellini alla Carbonara

EDIT: First things first.  I entered a recipe contest, and would be honored if you’d vote for me (if you like my recipe best, that is).  MOTIVATION FOR YOU: If I win, I’ll purchase something beautiful from Sur La Table with the prize, and give it to one of you wonderful readers.  Please vote for me here:

Ok, back to the regular post.  Thanks for that.

You guys.  Bacon.  It’s growing on me.  Call the newspapers.  Get on the radio!  Wait.  Hang up the phone.  I know, I know.  It’s not that big of a deal.  Is it?

Am I late?  Did I miss something?  Maybe it’s part of the aging process.  Oh, who am I kidding — I’m twenty-three.  It’s about time I got my taste buds together.  We didn’t eat bacon very much in my parents’ households.  And my friends ate it way too much in college.

But I think I’ve reached a healthy level of moderation.  I’ve spent the past couple of weekends in my new house, cooking French dinners.  Coq au vin starts off with bacon, and if you’re in my kitchen, an explosion. This carbonara, inspired by the lovely Angela at The Spinning Plate.  I actually didn’t even know what carbonara was, until she started documenting her love affair with food.

Hers is so romantic.  I don’t have a love affair with food.

Perhaps, food and I exploit each other.  Actually, scratch that — I just exploit my body.   It’s a one-way thing. My poor, confused body, that alternates from running five-plus miles to  savoring the delectable, questionably hazardous, cuisine that will steer me towards a satisfyingly long and healthy life (or a heart attack).  Both my body and I are betting on the former.  Hoping.  Wishing.  Eating.  Running.

And it goes on and on.

I’ve already run ten miles this week.  I made this last night.  So. Good.

Recipe and more photos after the jump.

Pasta alla Carbonara


Pasta — if you’re cooking for people (or for lunch this week), I’d go ahead and cook one pound.
4 egg yolks
4 or 5 slices of good slab bacon
2 to 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium-sized onions, sliced very thin
2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced

Grated Romano or Parmesan cheese to top
Fresh pepper to crack
Salt to taste


First, boil a pot of water to cook your pasta.  Don’t skimp on the salt — this is your chance to really strengthen the flavor of the pasta.  I used capellini (angel hair), so the pasta did not take very long to cook.  Those of you who choose penne, rigatoni, or any thicker pasta should keep an eye on it.

Boil the pasta until al dente — that is, slightly firm.  If you like your carbonara al dente, then cook your pasta slightly less.  You will be throwing the pasta back on the stove later.

While the pasta is cooking, begin frying your bacon in a large skillet, until it’s brown and crispy.  When complete, remove the bacon, and pat down with a paper towel to minimize the grease.  Then, dice the bacon to your preferred size.  I like it in chunks.

When the pasta is ready, drain it.  Eat a little as you go — to taste test, of course.  Definitely not because you can’t wait to eat.  Who does that?

Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan, saving just more than 2 Tablespoons.  Then, drizzle the olive oil in. Replace on the heat, and sautee your onions.  Traditionally, the onions are cooked until translucent, but I like to brown them — it strengthens the flavor.  Add your minced garlic, and let cook for one, maybe two more minutes.

Then, throw in your pasta.  Swirl it around, and let it absorb the moisture and flavor from the pan.  Crack fresh pepper to taste.  Keep the pasta hot.

When just about ready to serve, remove the pasta from any heat source (including the pan itself), add in the egg yolks, and toss until the pasta is evenly coated.  Drizzle with cheese and salt to taste.  To really impress your guests, garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme.  Then savor.