Basics: Spaghetti Carbonara

It’s Valentine’s Week.

Cute chubby angels are everywhere.

from crapus

from crapus

Flowers take on a new level of importance.

from flickr

from flickr

Antacids with “Hug Me” printed on them are flying off the shelves likes guns since the gun control “scare” (just an observation….).

from usatoday

from usatoday

And YOU are in a bind.

You’ve got to do something spectacular for that significant other, but all the good restaurants have been booked for weeks.

from babble

from babble

Your cooking skills consist of rice, grilled cheese, and eggs (and you’re super at all of them). But it’s not really a grilled cheese kind of occasion.

from facetimewithsharon

from facetimewithsharon

You’re resigned–you’ve probably got to make dinner. A nice dinner. Like with candles and real napkins.

from victoriana

from victoriana

Well…at least not a dinner that consists of a hot sandwich and a carby side.

It’s got to be easy, but look impressive.

panoramio

from panoramio

And it can’t be too garlicky, because, well, you know.

from wikipedia

from wikipedia

What could be easier than pasta? And more foolproof than bacon & eggs?

Impress your date…with Spaghetti Carbonara. It’s almost as easy as normal spaghetti but is just complex enough to impress her. Or him. Whatever.

And it’s got bacon.

Begin by preparing everything. That’s the key to this dish: preparation.

First, put a large pot of water on to boil.

Then dice a jalepeno. If you don’t want too much zing, remove the seeds…or leave it out altogether.

diced jalepenos

diced jalepenos

Then peel 5 cloves of garlic,

1 clove peeled

1 clove peeled

and smash with the blunt edge of your knife.

smashing

smashing

smashed

smashed

all of them

all of them

Now wash your hands first with soap, then with a salt rub. The soap gets the stickiness off and the salt takes the garlicky odor away.

You need to do this. No one likes to get felt up by sticky garlic hands.

Now grab some fresh or dried rosemary, and chop.

rosemary

rosemary

Combine the jalepeno, the garlic, and rosemary in a sauté pan with 1/4 cup of water and a splash of white wine.

If you don’t have white wine, throw an extra splash of water in there.

pan of goodness

pan of goodness

Turn the heat on low and lay 6 slices of bacon on all that goodness.

the really good stuff

the really good stuff

Let that cook until the bacon is done. Meanwhile, the water should be at a roiling boil.

boiling

boiling

Carefully put in about a third of a package of spaghetti. Don’t use the whole package–you’re not cooking for a church fellowship dinner.

While everything is cooking, prepare the sauce. Grab 3 eggs.

eggs

eggs

Whenever I can, I prefer using what Earth Momma calls “happy chicken eggs.”

Crack them into a bowl.

cracked

cracked

Add 1 1/2 cups of combined shredded Parmesan and pecorino romano.

cheese

cheese

If you’re broke, lazy, or strapped for time it’s A-OK to use this:

prefab cheese

prefab cheese

After all, you’re still in basics mode. Once you try freshly shredded, however, you’ll never go back to the bottle.

Okay, mix up the cheese and egg mixture.

mixing

mixing

Grab a handful of parsley and chop.

parsley

parsley

Add to the cheese and  eggs mixture. Give it all a good mix.

mixing again

mixing again

By now, the bacon should be done. Remove the bacon and chop/tear into bits.

bacon bits

bacon bits

You know you did it right if the pan looks like a battlefield.

battlefield

battlefield

Being careful not to let any of the flotsam drip into the bowl, drain the olive oil into the sauce.

infused olive oil

infused olive oil

That olive oil is now delicious and infused with garlic (but not too much…) and heat. You want all of that flavor.

Now, wash your pan, or get out a fresh one (make it less of a battlefield).

The pasta should be finished by now, so drain it into a colander, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.

steamy pasta

steamy pasta

Pour the pasta water into the sauce bowl.

with the pasta water

with the pasta water

Mix.

Put the freshly washed pan (or new one) on the stove, add a bit of butter, turn on the heat, and add the pasta. Give it a good coat of olive oil.

buttered

buttered

pasta

pasta

Toss it all around and then add the contents of the sauce bowl.

sauce and pasta

sauce and pasta

Keep the pasta and sauce moving around on the pan. If you let it sit too long you’ll end up with scrambled eggs, which won’t impress your date.

Leave it all on the heat for 1-2 minutes, consistently stirring, just long enough to cook the eggs.

Divide into 2 bowls or plates, and top with bacon bits, shredded cheese, and chopped parsley.

spaghetti carbonara

spaghetti carbonara

It’s impressive.

suck it, martha.

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Categories: Food & Drink, Life, Tips

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3 Comments on “Basics: Spaghetti Carbonara”

  1. February 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Don’t forget to sprinkle black pepper on top of the final product! That’s where the name comes from 🙂 Carbonara = Coal miner’s style

    • February 15, 2013 at 7:07 am #

      Thank you for that. Captain Anna doesn’t like black pepper for some reason, so it was left off on purpose. Glad you called her out. (:

      • February 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

        It’s shameful…I know. It’s my Achilles heel…..

        Thanks for pointing the origin out!

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