Pasta alla Carbonara is a simple dish consisting basically of pasta, bacon, cheese and raw eggs. Some recipes (not the original) add cream. The original Roman version is quite rich and adding the eggs to achieve a creamy sauce without them curdling is rather tricky.
I came up with an easy, full proof method for adding the egg, so no worries of salmonella and no excuses not to make this delightfully satisfying meal anytime of the day or night.
The addition of a bit of the pasta water eliminates the need for cream and baking the prosciutto to the desired crispness packs a lot of flavor without the fat.
Tagliatelle or fettuccine is my pasta of choice for this healthy indulgence. I rarely cook only 2 ounces of pasta at a time so I like to use 2 pasta nests, (each weighs one ounce) making it the perfect amount in proportion to the other ingredients. You can find the “pasta nests” in most markets and Walmart in the pasta aisle.
1 slice prosciutto (or more, see instructions below)
2 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta nests
Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (plus extra)
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pasta nests are simply dried pasta in the shape of a nest. They cook in 5-6 minutes and in case you’re wondering they do not retain their shape.
- Line a baking sheet with foil, top with prosciutto and bake in a 350* oven until desired crispness, about 15 minutes. I usually bake several slices of prosciutto at a time. Stored in the refrigerator, they will keep for several days and can be used in an omelet, (frittata) polenta, stuffed eggs, salad or another serving of carbonara.
- Break the prosciutto you’re going to use into bite-size pieces, set aside (store the rest).
- Boil the water for the pasta and heat olive oil (enough to baste the egg) in a small skillet.
- Have ready the parsley, cheese, butter and olive oil.
- After you add the pasta to the boiling water, fry the egg until it’s almost done, remove from heat.
- Remove some of the pasta water (1-2 tablespoons) before you drain the pasta.
- In a large bowl, place the drained pasta and toss in parsley, Parmesan cheese, butter and olive oil. Add some of the reserved pasta water (a little at a time) until creamy consistency.
- To serve, place pasta in a bowl, top with the olive-oiled fried egg and grate with more Parmesan.