I must confess, I love to watch cooking shows of all types and sizes. Trust me, my DVR would agree as well. I often find I watch these shows for the drama, the characters, and of course, the food. I find that these shows are more entertainment than education, but once in a while you get a nugget of information that changes everything you thought about how to make a certain dish. This was one of those days.
I’ve tried making pasta carbonara before with mixed results. I have even broken the cardinal sin and added cream to the sauce because I knew my eggs had overcooked and were breaking. This was with the heat off and stirring like there was no tomorrow. I don’t make it that often because, well, my hips don’t lie for one. Secondly, as I mentioned, I have had some successes and failures in the past. So, It has been tabled for a while and just on the back burner, so to speak.
One night I am watching a cooking show where a judge is challenged to make carbonara in about 17 minutes. Say what? That is crazy! Keep in mind, this chef is big dog in the restaurant world with multiple establishments, cookbooks, and the list goes on. Still, it is no joke to make a dish like that in 17 minutes. As he deftly begins to put the dish together, he mentions that you should combine the egg and grated parmesan in a seperate bowl. He goes on to explain that once your pasta is done cooking and the bacon is rendered that you will mix the pasta in with the bacon fat. Remember, fat is flavor. Add the pasta to the bowl with the egg, cheese, black pepper, and mix quickly. Viola! Perfect carbonara! Why is this step so important? Because it ensures that your eggs don’t scramble and your sauce is perfectly smooth. I was soo excited by this that I jumped up, didn’t even finish the show, and proceeded to make carbonara. As it happened, I had some bacon around that I had chopped up previously for another recipe. The rest of my ingredients were in the fridge just waiting to be called to action.
Here is the recipe that I used. Before we do that, here are two small pieces of business that I need to address. First, this is not my recipe as it belongs to Chef Marc Murphy who was appearing as a judge on Guy’s Grocery Games, “Budget Wars” episode. Also, I eye-balled most of the amounts in order to create this recipe. However, I think the recipe foundation can be built upon to make it for any number of people.
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup of bacon sliced into strips
3/4 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh cracked pepper
pasta of your choice I used 1/4-1/2 box dried gluten free fettuccine
Fill large pot with water, when boiling, add salt until water tastes of the ocean.
In a skillet, start rendering bacon on medium heat.
In a large mixing bowl, add eggs and parmesan cheese. Mix until eggs and cheese are combined. Add cracked black pepper, stir until incorporated, and then set the bowl aside
Once bacon is rendered and cooked to desired doneness, remove with slotted spoon.
Drain pasta getting as much water out as you can. Then toss the pasta in the pan with the bacon fat and mix until pasta is well coated with bacon fat.
Add pasta into the bowl that has the egg and cheese mixture and toss with tongs for a minute.
Transfer pasta into serving bowl and top with the crispy bacon to serve.
That is it! You have done it!
As I have said, the technique can apply to any carbonara recipe. I wanted to share the recipe I used as a guide to help you guy understand how it works. Admittedly, I didn’t take any photos as carbonara is best served hot. Plus, I am not sure with garnishing the bowl, which appears to be a culinary sin, a bowl of carbonara is pretty simple and clean when served.