There are few foods in this world that I love as much as pasta carbonara. And though I've tried a few different variations over the years, I'm still partial to this very simple version I wrote about nearly four years ago. So what are we doing here with a recipe from Gourmet, which features a poached egg? Well, while I might enjoy that raw egg yolk perched on top of a mound of pasta, some people don't. When I decided to make a version for my mom, she appreciated the presentation. Luckily, this version seemed to be even more hedonistic than the other version.
Although there is always a whole egg present in that other version of carbonara, there is something about seeing it here that makes it seem heavier and even more filling. Of course, the ease of this dish will depend completely on your egg poaching skills. I definitely wouldn't consider myself an expert at the process. Luckily, this great slideshow is easy to follow and worked perfectly for me.
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 4 slices bacon (substitute pancetta or guanciale if you have it), chopped
- ½ pound spaghetti or bucatini
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, ground
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Also, fill a medium-sized saucepan halfway up with water, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a bare simmer, and add the white vinegar.
Meanwhile, place bacon in a 10-inch nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Drain the chopped bacon on paper towels. Pour out all but 4 teaspoons of the bacon fat.
Add pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook according to the directions on the side of the box until al dente. Reserve 2/3 cup of pasta water, and then drain pasta in a colander.
Add butter to the nonstick skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When butter melts, add pasta, cheese, black pepper, and the pasta water. Cook, tossing occasionally with a pair of 12-inch tongs, until the sauce has thickened.
While the pasta is cooking, carefully slip the eggs into the medium-sized pot. Simmer very gently until whites have set, about three minutes. Carefully remove eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. For more detailed instructions, follow these great directions on poaching an egg.
Divide the pasta between two bowls. Top each with a poached egg. Season with salt and more black pepper to taste.