Recently, Rob asked Sam when he would be ready to do something or other. Sam replied from the kitchen that he would be ready when he was finished “bacon-ing.” He had discovered an irresistibly available quantity of slab bacon left over from a carbonara served two nights before, and was confidently frying it up, tongs in hand and paper towels on the counter. (A better parent might have been concerned about grease splatters and safety issues, but I was too choked up by the sight of my boy cooking to bother with the pragmatic stuff).
We like bacon. I had a Jewish great grandfather who loved bacon so much that he used to, well, eat it, which he was not at all supposed to do. I love bacon alone, bacon with eggs, pancakes, pasta and in a sandwich with peanut butter. (Although, curiously, I dislike sausage quite a lot). I do not consume nearly as much bacon as I would like due to the arterial issues involved, but if I were checking out in six weeks you can bet there would be bacon served three times a day as my greasy, salty life-light flickered out.
The leftover bacon used for The Bacon-ing was purchased to make carbonara, a simple and fabulous Italian pasta. It is easy to whip up at the end of a long day, and most of us have the ingredients at hand most of the time. I have seen recipes that include cream (you know who you are, Rachel Ray) but I like mine this way, and the recipe I use comes from Marcella Hazen who (in my humble opinion) trumps all competitors for the title of Goddess of Italian Cooking. Except maybe Lidia Bastianich. Anyway, that’s a whole other post. Here’s the recipe:
Pasta with Carbonara Sauce
(Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazen)
- 1/2 pound pancetta or good slab bacon
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmaggiano-Reggiano, Romano, or some combination thereof
- Fresh black pepper
- 1 1/4 pounds pasta (I use fettucine or linguine for this)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta
- Cut the pancetta or bacon into strips not quite 1/4 inch wide
- Lightly mash garlic and discard skin; put garlic and oil in a pan and sautee over medium-high heat until garlic is deep gold, then discard.
- Put pancetta or bacon in pan and cook until pieces begin to crisp at the edges. Add the wine, let it cook for 1-2 minutes and remove from heat.
- Break two eggs into a serving bowl, beat them lightly with a fork, and add grated cheese, pepper and parsley. Mic thoroughly.
- Ad cooked, drained pasta to serving bowl and toss rapidly, coating the strands and cooking the egg.
- Briefly re-heat the pancettta or bacon and add entire contents of pan to serving bowl. Toss and serve.
P.S. I have previously posted a different carbonara recipe, and while they are both good, I like this one better because of the garlic.