Weekend Kitchen: Spaghetti carbonara for winter comfort


By Julia Westhoff

Ever have one of those nights when the fridge is empty and you have no idea what to make for dinner? For us that seems to happen nearly every night. That’s probably why I’ve been so dependent on this meal. All ingredients are usually on hand, it takes 15 minutes, and it tastes amazing. One of my favorite food celebrities, Ruth Reichl, mentions this dish constantly, and if she thinks it’s good you know you’ve got a winner.

So what is spaghetti carbonara? It’s simply spaghetti mixed with a sauce of bacon, eggs and parmesan. The eggs cook as you toss them with hot pasta, and it creates a creamy, savory sauce. If you were to look up comfort food in the dictionary, you would find a picture of this dish (at least, you should if you have a good dictionary). It’s truly one of our family’s favorites.

One note – if you’re not in the habit of saving your pasta water, you should start now. I almost always end up putting a full cup in to help the pasta and the sauce meld together (not just with this pasta recipe, but all of them).

Spaghetti Carbonara
12 oz spaghetti
3 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
6 slices bacon, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; reserve at least 1 cup water and drain well.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and Parmesan; set aside.

At the same time as the water is boiling, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes; reserve excess fat.

Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low or turn off if pasta isn’t ready.

Working quickly, stir in pasta and egg mixture, and gently toss to combine; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add reserved pasta water until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately.