“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” – director Federico Fellini
If life is a combination of pasta and magic, then Pasta Carbonara is la dolce vita itself. Using a little cooking magic and mound of cheese, it was a guaranteed winner in the Flyover House.
I started with a recipe from this little book, which I picked up 5 years ago at a sale at Barnes and Noble; which means that book has been moved to 4 different addresses. But I digress….
Carbonara is relatively simple. Hot pasta is tossed with bacon and an egg/cheese mixture. The heat of the pasta cooks the eggs and turns everything into an otherworldly mix of creamy saltiness. And unlike most magic, you can do this without any slight of hand or even a lovely assistant.
Start by bringing the water to boiling for your pasta. Also, heat your oven to 200° and place an ovenproof bowl in there to warm. This will be the bowl the pasta gets tossed in.
Cook the chopped bacon and then the garlic. I added some asparagus, thinking that it would at least make the pasta a little “healthy”. However, I cooked that asparagus in bacon fat. Which I’m pretty sure negates any positive impact.
As the bacon and asparagus were cooking, I mixed the Parmesan, mozzarella, and two eggs together in a separate bowl and set aside.
I know your getting all nervous about those eggs. No, they haven’t been cooked. No, we’re not going to cook them. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine…..it’s part of the magic.
Once the pasta is done, drain it, and place it in your oven warmed bowl. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta and toss thoroughly.
The magic here is in the timing. The hot pasta gets drained and then immediately gets tossed with the eggs and cheese. The heat of the bowl and the heat of the pasta cook the eggs. PRESTO! No magic words needed….just good kitchen timing.
Now add in the bacon/garlic/asparagus mixture and toss again. I also added a dash of heavy cream, but mostly because it was leftover from another recipe and I was getting in the nasty habit of putting it in my morning coffee. Seriously…that stuff is dangerous.
And presto chango….the eggs and cheese heat and make the most decadent sauce for the pasta. It’s not as heavy as you might think because a lot of the creamy quality comes from the eggs, not from actual cream. Actually, most traditional carbonara recipes use no cream at all.
UNFORESEEN BONUS: From start to finish this whole recipe probably took about 25 minutes. And it was delicious. Rachel Ray, you’ve been served.
Plus, it has crispy flecks of salty bacon. Which honestly, makes anything just a little bit magical. Dished out in big bowls with a couple glasses of a cool, crisp white wine, our kitchen was dangerously close to a Fellini film….
Or as close to a Fellini film as a German/Irish girl in the Midwest can get.
xoxo Flyover Foodie
p.s. Thanks for the patience. This is the busy season at work, which I promise will be followed by a busy blogging season. The latter containing noticeably more butter.