Bacon. Onion. Garlic. Pinon nuts. Eggs. Pasta. Parmesan cheese. OMG, what a divine collection of wonderfulness! And they all combine together quickly and easily into my version of Pasta Carbonara which I’m going to share with you right now. And bonus, I’m passing on a great way to make bacon! I know, right? Let’s get started!
Here’s a great bacon trick for cooking it with a minimum of shrinkage and grease splatter:
I wish I could take credit for this but I heard about this method on America’s Test Kitchen and it’s brilliant –
- Put bacon in a cold skillet and add enough water to just cover the bacon.
- Turn the heat on to Medium-High and cook until the water has evaporated. This helps prevent the bacon from shrinking and has the majority of the cooking happening “under water,” with no splattering.
- Once the water is gone, let the bacon start to brown a little and then turn it over to brown the other side. Remove the bacon from the heat when it’s done and let it drain on paper towels.
- Now this part, I WILL take credit for – take a clean kitchen scissors and cut the bacon into little bite-size pieces and then follow the method above. This makes it easier to turn, means all the bacon fits in the pan, and leftover bacon will be ready for adding to scrambled eggs, salads, chicken dishes, or just sprinkling directly into your mouth, my personal favorite.
Just wait until you try the method above. You’re going to thank me. In advance, you’re so welcome! Now, onto the recipe…
Easy Pasta Carbonara:
1 lb bacon in bite-size pieces (see an easy way to do that, above)
1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lb spaghetti pasta
1/4 cup pinon nuts
3 eggs, whisked with a fork
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Put a big pot of salted water on the stove so the water can start coming to a boil while you prepare the meal.
Brown the bacon according to the method above. Remove the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Brown the onion in the same pan. As soon as it starts to look translucent, add the garlic, watching it very carefully so neither brown, especially the garlic which will get very bitter if overcooked. With a slotted spoon, remove the onion and garlic to another bowl.
Lightly brown the pinon nuts in the same pan (do we hear one-pan meal?!). Keep stirring them around so they brown evenly. Quickly remove them to the dish with garlic and onion.
By now, the pasta water has probably started boiling. Add the pasta and give it a good stir right off the bat to get those noodles separated and cooking.
Once the pasta is done, scoop out about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta but don’t fret too much about getting every last drop of water off the pasta because it’s going to be part of the sauce. Return the cooked pasta to the pot.
Add 1/2 of the Parmesan choose to the egg mixture and quickly pour it over the pot of noodles, stirring and lifting (use tongs or a pasta server) it quickly so that the egg/cheese mixture gets distributed over the pasta as much as possible. The heat from the pasta is cooking the egg.
Add just a little pasta water (too much and you’ll ruin it and disaster will strike) to take advantage of the starchy water mixing with the pasta, egg and cheese to help distribute everything.
Next, add the onion/garlic/pinon nut mixture and the bacon and toss everything around until it’s pretty evenly distributed.
Serve up the pasta and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top.
IF there’s any Pasta Carbonara left over (not likely, so better make extra), it’s delicious the next day (or two) for leftovers with just a drizzle of olive oil mixed in. Just sayin’.
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