I’m going to write something that I never thought I’d write before: I found myself with a fair amount of left over bacon from a recent brunch I hosted. This strange-surprising newfound kitchen bounty was akin to spotting a rare, white elk–it don’t happen!
Everyone loves bacon. Bacon is the first thing to go when it is served. Who refuses leftover bacon?
My guests, apparently. So, I squirreled it away in a plastic bag and decided to engage it in a few days.
Well, here I am. A few days later.
Despite the warming weather, I was craving carbonara and thought I’d restore pork to its proper role in this dish I made back in February. I had saved the bacon fat from this recipe and used it in place of the olive oil to saute the onions. I cut up the cooked bacon and tossed it with the onion/fat mixture. One thing to keep in mind about this dish; make sure your eggs are at room temperature. If you pull them out of the fridge just before cracking and mixing with the pasta, you will chill the dish rather dramatically. This is a meal meant to be served piping hot.
The dish was tasty and my finest carbonara to-date. My friend Charlie (photo credit!) was impressed by how rich and light the dish was, considering the weightiness of the ingredients; cheese, eggs, bacon. C’mon, feel it cling to your ribs!
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Mario Batali via Martha Stewart
Serves 4 to 8.
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used close to 2 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat)
1 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
8-10 strips of cooked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 pound perciatelli or bucatini pasta
4 large eggs
1 cup aged sheep’s milk cheese, such as Cacio de Roma
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
4 to 8 large egg yolks, for serving
- Fill a large pot with 8 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add 3 tablespoons salt and return to a boil.
- Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, heat rendered bacon fat over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and lightly golden, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Toss in bacon slices.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook, according to package directions, until almost al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Transfer pasta to skillet, along with 1/2 cup reserved cooking water. Place skillet over medium heat.
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs and season with salt and pepper. Add eggs to skillet along with sheep’s milk cheese; gently mix to combine. Let cook until eggs just begin to set, but not scramble. Remove from heat and add parsley and Parmigiano. Divide evenly between serving bowls. Top each with an egg yolk and season with pepper; serve immediately.