Why didn’t anyone tell me about this recipe when I was broke, living in New York, eating peanut butter & jelly to survive? It’s possibly the best cheap recipe out there. And even better, it looks sorta fancy when you leave the egg yolk in the middle for your guests to break upon eating. I love any recipe with less than five ingredients (I don’t count the salt & pepper), and more importantly, any recipe with bacon.
There’s a million recipes for spaghetti carbonara out there, but I went with one from the man I trust most – Mario Batali. I also high-fived Mario Batali on my way out of Babbo a few weeks ago, so I consider us friends.
Spaghetti Alla Carbonara (Mario Batali)
1/2 pound guanciale (I used bacon)
1 pound dry spaghetti
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
4 eggs, separated
Black pepper, freshly ground
Fresh basil, chopped (optional, I just like to add basil to everything)
In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, render and cook the bacon until it is crispy and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not drain the fat from pan and set aside.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cook the spaghetti, until tender yet al dente. Drain the spaghetti, reserving the pasta cooking water.
Reheat the bacon in the pan with the fat and add approximately 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Toss in the cooked spaghetti and heat, shaking the pan, until warmed through, about 1 minute. Add the grated cheese, egg whites and black pepper and toss until fully incorporated. I also added a bit more cooking water at this point. Divide the pasta among 4 warmed serving bowls. Make a nest in the center for the egg yolk. Gently drop an egg yolk into each serving, season with more freshly ground black pepper and grate additional cheese over the top. Serve immediately.