Author Notes: This is French comfort food at its finest, inspired by classic Roman carbonara. The French have made the dish their own with crème fraîche and caramelized onions, and this version is naturally adapted to my own American tastes. Feel free to experiment and make it your own! —Olivia Noel
pound pasta — I use spaghetti or linguine
medium onions, sliced into ¼" half moons
ounces smoked lardons — or thick-cut bacon cut into ¼" strips
ounces crème fraîche
salt and pepper, to taste
cup reserved pasta water
grated parmesan or gruyère, for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to pasta maker's instructions. Remember to reserve some pasta water for the sauce before draining!
- While your pasta water is heating, melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have softened and browned to your desired level of caramelization.
- Add lardons and increase heat to medium-high. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until your lardons have crisped up. Pour off any excess fat.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add crème fraîche, plus salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook 3-5 minutes until the cream has thickened slightly and taken on the caramelized color of the onions.
- Add cooked pasta to the sauce and continue to cook 2-3 minutes, turning often. Add reserved pasta water as needed to create a loose sauce.
- Serve with freshly grated parmesan or gruyère.