Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Spaghetti alla Carbonara

[Flickr: Robyn Lee]

I consider Spaghetti alla Carbonara one of my culinary secret weapons. No matter how sad the state of my refrigerator, chances are that I have all of the ingredients on hand to produce a steaming and satisfying plate of carbonara. I've learned over the years that as long as I have a few eggs, a chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and some sort of cured pork product, I will never go hungry nor will I be disappointed.

There might be a few other incarnations of pasta that are equally as quick, but none deliver the richness of this simple mix of bacon, eggs, and pasta. If you have never made this dish before, Ari Weinzweig's recipe from Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon is a great place to start. Boil the pasta, crisp up some pork (bacon, pancetta, guanciale, even diced salt pork will do), drain the pasta, add it to the rendered pork fat, mix in the eggs and grated cheese, toss with a generous amount of black pepper, and you are finished.

Once you learn the basic formula you can add your own touches. Fresh herbs are always a nice addition—I am particularly fond of parsley and chives. You can deglaze the pan with white wine for a little added acidity or add a touch of cream if you like your pasta a bit saucier.

Win 'Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon'

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon to give away this week.

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