You’re home from work, starving, standing in front of the fridge with your coat still on. You spy a couple of eggs, a spot of bacon…breakfast for dinner is sounding fast and fine. And it is fine, of course, given bacon and eggs is one of the best food combinations on the planet. But if you’re wanting something a bit more dinner-y, with a hit of carb comfort to chase away the day, remember carbonara, aka bacon-and-egg pasta.
Carbonara purists will be annoyed with the suggestion of bacon over the classic pancetta, but my goal here is a fast, satisfying bowl of pasta with ingredients you’re likely to have on hand. If you have pancetta—use it! But if bacon is what you keep on hand, it’s plenty fantastic in this dish.
Your evening will basically play out like this: Set a pot of water on to boil. Hang up your coat. Pour a glass of wine.
Brown some bacon and garlic. Cook the pasta. Grate some cheese. Beat an egg. Toss it all together. That’s pretty much it. What emerges is creamy, chewy, decadent heaven, topped with plenty of freshly ground black pepper to balance the richness, ending a long, cold day with a warm, full belly.
Finish your wine. Read a book. Go to bed. Sleep well.
Spaghetti Carbonara for One
Note: You can easily double or triple this recipe. Leftovers are pretty terrific fried crispy for breakfast…
1/4 lb. dried spaghetti
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1 organic egg
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook to al dente, according to package directions.
While pasta cooks, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add bacon. Saute bacon until lightly browned but still soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, then set pan aside and keep warm.
Beat egg in a large bowl with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Set aside.
When pasta is done, scoop a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water from the pan and set aside. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the warm bacon and garlic in the skillet. Toss the pasta with the bacon and drippings, then quickly dump the whole panful of still-hot pasta and bacon into the bowl with the beaten egg. Quickly and gently toss the pasta with the egg (the heat from the pasta cooks the egg), adding a bit of the pasta cooking water if needed, until sauce is creamy and coats the pasta. Add the cheese and parsley and toss a bit more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with additional cheese.