Spaghetti Carbonara

Since I grew up in a family that didn’t like cheese, it wasn’t until I went to college that I discovered how awesome just plain pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese is. It is my go to meal in an emergency when I need to fill my tummy quickly. By emergency, you can surmise I usually mean when my mental and physical state is more poor than usual, my tummy feels upset, often after some consumption of lots of liquids with some sort of alcohol component. Perhaps you can surmise that anyway.

I also learned in college from others that sprinkling cheese from a salad bar on top of hot rice is more than workable too (what!!?? People put rice and cheese together!??), and this made me even lazier than my¬†previous ways which used to be fried rice or plain jasmine rice with Maggi Seasoning Sauce. I use a rice cooker, and so the upside of that is that instead of having to watch a pot of water boil (which inevitably will boil over, alerting me that it is now time to put in the pasta), I can just really stick the rice and water in and walk away until I hear the click from the rice cooker that it’s done.

But college days and those early 20s are over. Ok, so I still eat those things (in particular, fried rice is a great way to use old rice from takeout or dining out). And sometimes out of laziness hot rice with a sprinkle of cheese is easier and faster in a pinch than making mac and cheese, although it probably will make most Asians shudder.

Sometimes, I try to get a bit gourmet. By that, I mean I think making spaghetti carbonara is a nicely refined backup when I am making a meal alone but am not so desperate for comfort in my stomach/dizzy that I can’t crack an egg and crumble some crispy bacon, all serving 1. The fact that I throw in a vegetable (even if they start from frozen peas) also makes me feel like “hey, I’m an adult. There’s a vegetable in there. It’s more sophisticated, see.”

Extra Note: Whenever I buy bacon, I will use a few strips fresh (or whatever my recipe calls for) and freeze the rest. My tip for freezing bacon is that I always freeze each piece individually in the saran wrap by folding them accordion style, just like you do when you make those creases for paper fans. That way, when I only need a couple pieces, I don’t have to break them off a huge slab of frozen bacon. I also always save the bacon juice- though in this case you will be using it right away as part of the recipe.

What’s your favorite comfort / sober up food?

Spaghetti Carbonara with bacon, peas, parmesan, egg

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1/2 box of spaghetti
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 cup of cooked peas (I steamed mine in the microwave)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
  2. While the water is boiling, cook chopped bacon until crisp on a skillet. Remove the bacon and drain onto paper towels. Save the bacon fat in that skillet!
  3. While the water is boiling, I also beat the egg. Add the cheese and nutmeg, and beat it again. Set aside for later.
  4. Reuse that skillet to now cook the chopped onion until it is caramelized and translucent. Add minced garlic, and cook few minutes more. If you want, you can throw in other ingredients to your taste, such as peas, mushrooms, cream or splash of white wine… but will you be tempted to keep that wine out to eat with your pasta is a potential problem / opportunity :X
  5. Now to that pan, add the drained spaghetti. Toss to coat and heat through. Remove the skillet from heat and add beaten eggs and toss quickly all throughout the pasta until the eggs are barely set. Finally, crumble the bacon in, add the cooked peas, and toss again. Add some ground pepper to taste.

Spaghetti Carbonara with bacon, peas, parmesan, egg Spaghetti Carbonara with bacon, peas, parmesan, egg

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Comments

  1. What do you mean, your family doesn’t like cheese? That is the saddest thing I have heard all day.

    Yum! I especially like the touch of nutmeg…and bacon…and CHEESE.

  2. Adventures in Dressmaking says:

    My Italian step-grandpa introduced my family to carbonara and I always LOVED it as a kid. He never made it with cheese or peas, but we loved it with bacon/egg/pepper (the “carbon”). I don’t eat grains now but we made a cabbage stir-fry with bacon and egg a couple months ago and I realized we had accidentally made a Paleo version of carbonara! Yumm!!!

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