There have been many nights on the farm, where we have guests and I want to cook something delicious for dinner, but I'm sweaty, dirty, tired, and didn't finish chores until after a time when most people would already be eating dessert. Luckily, I have a go-to recipe for just that kind of night - Pasta alla Carbonara. It's so delicious though that I'll make it a few times a month, regardless of timing or situation. It's fast, unique, drool worthy, and does the special trick of highlighting the amazing eggs our chickens have laid fresh that day. In fact, I'm not so sure I'd make this recipe if I didn't have my own eggs or couldn't get my eggs from a source I trusted. You see, the key to this dish is that the eggs are practically raw. The raw eggs in the sauce are only ever so delicately cooked by the heat of the hot pasta fresh out of the colander. Just enough to give real density, but not so much that someone squeamish about raw eggs wouldn't be a bit weirded out.
In Italy, we would make this with pancetta, but here I use a good bacon and it's just as tasty. They say that this dish originated during World War 2 when American soldiers brought huge amounts (American sized amounts, according to the Italians) of bacon and dried eggs as part of their rations. As I mentioned, please make sure your eggs are fresh and from a source you can trust. They should be from healthy chickens on pasture ideally.
Linguine alla Carbonara
- 4 pastured egg yolks and one whole egg
- 150 grams pastured (I know, but if you can, get it) bacon (about 4 slices and, well, you can always use more... I won't tell) chopped into 1/2" pieces
- 100 grams pecorino (about 1 1/2 - 2 cups grated) - you can also sub parm or grana
- pepper to taste
- 350 grams linguine or spaghetti
Grind a bit of pepper over the chopped bacon and cook in a skillet until crispy (or less if you're not into well cooked bacon). Remove from heat when done and set aside to cool.
While you're cooking the bacon, put a pot of lightly salted water on for your pasta and bring to a boil.
In the meantime, put your egg and yolks in a medium sized bowl and whisk until smooth. Add about 3/4 of your grated pecorino to the eggs and continue to whisk until well blended and creamy.
Once your water has started to boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
Right before you strain the pasta, add your bacon pieces and fat (YES) from cooking into the egg sauce.
Strain the pasta, shake a bit, and then immediately pitch onto the egg sauce in your bowl. Gently agitate the pasta mass with a pair of tongs, and then slowly fold the pasta and sauce together until your linguine is well coated in carbonara.
Plate the pasta and top with more freshly ground pepper and the rest of the pecorino. Done!