A few months ago I shared one of my favorite comfort food recipes from my childhood – spaghetti alla carbonara. Now, if you’ve ever enjoyed this dish, you are well aware that it is not on any menu for those watching their caloric intake.
Frustrated by this fact, I came across a recipe from chef Anne Burrell of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef that simplified it and eliminated the heavy cream that I had assumed was mandatory when making this classic dish.
After following her instructions, I was amazed. The flavor, the rich creaminess that is associated with this dish was more than present and when I looked at the clock, I realized it took me all of 15 minutes to make this dish.
After a few tweaks to improve the health factor a bit more as well as what I typically have in my refrigerator and enjoy eating, this is the recipe that I am not going to feel guilty about when I choose to enjoy it ever again ( I just won’t eat it every night).
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
- 8 ounces spaghetti (traditional or whole wheat)
- 2 Tbsp extra olive oil
- 3 ounces thickly diced pancetta (choose fatty pieces, lean doesn't help the flavor – enjoy this dish!)
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- fleur de sel for the pasta water and to season the sauce
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over medium/high heat.
- Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta to the cold pan and slowly render all the goodness the pancetta offers over a medium heat and cook until it starts to color and become crisp. Just before you turn off the heat, if there is excess oil, drain all but two tablespoons. Continue cooking for medium heat and add a chopped up garlic clove for one minute. Turn off the heat and reserve.
- While the pancetta is rendering. Drop the pasta into the salted boiling water and cook it 1 minute less than it says on the package, usually about 6 to 7 minutes. Bite the pasta to check the consistency.
- While the pasta is cooking, crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the grated Parmigana Reggiano and season with a dash of salt. Whisk vigorously until it becomes a homogenous. Season generously with black pepper.
- When the pasta is just about done, return the pan with the pancetta to medium heat. Remove the pasta from the cooking water. Toss or stir the pasta into the pancetta to coat the pasta with the remaining fat in the skillet. Immediately and vigorously stir the egg mixture into the pasta. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly until the egg mixture looks like a cream sauce.
- Serve immediately and sprinkle with left-over grated Parmigiana Reggiano.