I once saw Tyler Florence make Carbonara on Food911. It looked so delicious and rather easy for such a beautiful dish, I just had to try it. No offense to Tyler, but I can't afford some of his ingredients. Like Pancetta. Now, I know pancetta is more traditional for this meal, but I’m watching costs here. So, I made some modifications and substituted Pancetta with Bacon ends. Besides. Who doesn’t love bacon? Bacon good!!! —Renae Simeon
Bacon Ends or Thick sliced Bacon (finely cube or slice into very small strips)
Begin preparing your carbonara sauce while the linguine is cooking. You must time this dish so that your pasta is hot and done cooking when the sauce is ready to be finished. It’s the heat of the pasta that actually cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.
When boiling your pasta, cook it “al dente.” Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. You’ll need it!
Meanwhile, cook bacon until it’s crisp and the fat is fully rendered. Add in olive oil and garlic and saute for about a minute to soften.
Drain your hot linguine and add to the bacon mixture. Toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the fat. Beat your eggs and Parmesan together in a bowl. Remove the pasta and bacon from heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta and whisk quickly until the eggs thicken. You’ll need to add about 1/4 cup of your reserved pasta water as you whisk. This will help your sauce remain smooth and not too thick. Careful not to scramble (this is why this process is done off the heat).
You may need to thin out the sauce a bit more. Use your reserved pasta water. Season the carbonara with ground black pepper and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and some additional Parmesan.
We had steamed broccoli ($2.00) as our side dish, but you could do just about any veggie or salad. Just remember, this dish is best served immediately. Nice and hot and wonderfully creamy.
GRAND TOTAL: $7.75