Sometimes, it’s late and you haven’t had a chance to buy ingredients for dinner. You just want to be able to throw something together with what you have on hand. After all, it’s important to eat before it gets too late. (Personally, I try to finish dinner before 10 p.m.; if I eat later than that I find it hard to get up in time for work.)
So what do you make? Well, if you are like me, you typically have some standard breakfast staples lying around: bacon and eggs. You probably also have some nice dried pasta and Parmesan cheese, and you may have a nice bottle of white wine (preferably dry). So what do you do? Spaghetti Alla Carbonara.
There are many variations to this dish, but the basic gist is as follows. Bring a good amount of salted water to boil. Chop the bacon (pancetta if you have it) into quarter-inch pieces, and saute it in a bit of olive oil until browned. Pour in a glass of wine and cook off the alcohol. Meanwhile, beat a couple of eggs and add in a bunch of grated Parmesan cheese.
Put some of the pasta water aside, and drain the pasta. Place the pasta into a serving bowl, and add in the egg/cheese mixture. Make sure it is well combined; the eggs will be cooked with the residual heat of the pasta. You can add some of the reserved pasta water to the sauce, but make sure you cook off some of the liquid. When the sauce looks ready, pour it over the pasta. Add salt and freshly cracked pepper–you will want to season the dish liberally.
Garnish the dish with more freshly grated Parmesan. Serve it immediately, as it is at its best when served just after preparation.
- Wins: made from readily available and affordable ingredients (breakfast items for dinner), quick to prepare (under 20 minutes), easy to prepare, and tasty.
- Added bonus: 3/4 of a nice white bottle of wine to drink with dinner.
- Bad parts of this dish: quite a few dishes to clean.
Need exact measurements for this dish? Look up any number of recipes on the web. A lot of them may call for ingredients like garlic, peas, mushrooms, onions, or cream. None of these are necessary for this dish, but all of them can be easily added. (Want to make the dish richer? Throw a pat of butter into the sauce or use extra yolks in the egg/cheese mixture.)