Pasta alla Carbonara is basically a pasta, egg and bacon dish. It was first described after the second world war as a Roman dish, when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the United States. But today we have many variations of what was a simple dish.
The original way for preparing Carbonara didn’t include cream. At some point it was introduced and it is how I learned and prefer to make mine, plus the peas.
- 1 pound dried Linguine or other long pasta of choice
- Olive Oil
- 8 slices of thick pre-cut bacon
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- One 12 oz. bag of Steam Ready Green Peas*
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven broiler. Arrange your bacon strips on a broiling pan and place under broiler. Cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove from broiler and place all the strips on a plate lined with paper towels. Once cooled, crush the bacon with your hands and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve one cup of the pasta water.
- Place the bag of peas in the microwave and cook according to package directions. When done, place peas in a bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat and cook chopped onion until soft and translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for a couple minutes, do not let it brown! Reduce heat to low.
- Once done, add the pasta straight from the pot to the skillet and mix. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Whisk eggs, cream and cheese together in a medium bowl and pour over pasta mixture. Make sure to coat well.
- Add the crushed bacon and the peas and additional salt pepper to taste and red pepper flakes, mix well.
- If the mixture is too thick, you can at this point add some of the pasta water, a little at a time, to thin out the sauce to your liking.
- Serve immediately.
- *I only used half of the bag of peas for this recipe and refrigerated the left overs for future use.
- You can omit the red pepper if you don't like spicy foods. And you can use half & half or regular milk instead of heavy cream if you're counting calories.
As I mentioned before, the traditional way of making this pasta dish didn’t require cream but I just love the beautiful sauce that the cream provides. I also prefer long pasta as opposed to shorter ones.
A lot of times you will find that Carbonara recipes call for “pancetta” which is Italian bacon but I prefer the convenience of ready-cut pre-packaged all american bacon. As you can see, this recipe is extremely easy to adjust.
What’s your take on the Carbonara?