Off Topic: Pasta Carbonara

So this right here, I’m pretty sure, is the reason my husband married me. I made it for him while we were dating and apparently he liked it so much he put a ring on it.

Since that time it has evolved into his birthday dinner of choice. He wants it every year and he really doesn’t want it any other time of the year so as not to diminish its specialness.

Birthday Boy

As you can then imagine, this dish is fraught with meaning and sentiment as well as fat and calories you don’t even want to know about. But because it’s such a long-standing favorite, we do not have an ounce of objectivity about it. We love it but I honestly can’t tell you if you will love it as much. I’m pretty sure it’s good but I can’t separate the nostalgia from the dish itself. On the other hand, it’s got bacon, cream, butter, eggs and cheese in it so I’m willing to go out on a limb.

The original recipe is from the instruction manual that came with my 1970s-era Cuisinart. Over the years I’ve adapted it enough to call it my own.

So, a belated happy birthday to the man who ate my cooking when, honestly, it wasn’t all that good.

Pasta Carbonara
Serves 4-6
Printable version

6 oz. (about 6 slices) bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
4 oz. parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
2/3 cup whipping cream
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 cups cooked pasta (about 3/4 lb.), I always use spaghetti or fettuccine

Cook bacon over medium heat in a 12″ skillet until crispy. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet.

Whisk together 1/2 cup of the cheese with 1/3 cup cream, the eggs, egg yolks, pepper flakes, sage, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Add butter and remaining cream to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the butter melts and the cream simmers. Add the cooked pasta and toss gently. Remove skillet from heat and pour the egg mixture over the hot pasta. Add the bacon and toss to combine. Gently heat the mixture until the eggs just thicken slightly and are heated through; do not overcook. Adjust the seasoning and serve immediately with reserved cheese.

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