Feast of the Seven Bacons: Pasta Carbonara Recipe

Pasta Carbonara was never part of my family’s Christmas Eve tradition. There were years when people went to midnight mass and other years when we’d go to friends for oyster stew and wonderful desserts, but there were never hard and fast rules for the night before Christmas. So I was a little amused when a friend asked if we were doing the Feast of the Seven Fishes this year. “No, actually we’re doing the Feast of the Seven Bacons.”

My father had been wondering what to do with a bunch of different types of bacon that he had and I suggested that we make pasta Carbonara, an old favorite, that I don’t make much any more, it being one of the more efficient fat delivery systems. But it’s not time for New Year’s resolutions yet, so indulge. It’s fast and will serve 4.
  • 1 pound spaghetti or linguini
  • Olive oil
  • 4 thick slices bacon, sliced into 1/2″ lardons
  • 2 thick slices ham, sliced into 1/2″ strips about 1″ long
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • Salt and coarsely ground pepper

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, put a little olive oil in a sauté pan and cook the bacon and ham over medium heat until the bacon is browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs, add the cheese, pepper and cream and mix until well combined.

Drain the pasta, keeping a little of the pasta water and return all of it to the pot. Add the egg mixture and the bacon and toss to mix until everything is well combined (the heat of the pasta and bacon will cook the eggs). Garnish with the scallions, serve with additional cheese and pepper and enjoy!

Notes: There are a lot of ways you can make carbonara, any one of which, will undoubtedly upset some Italian somewhere. I’ve always liked a mix of ham and bacon; tradition calls for pancetta. I don’t drain the bacon on paper towels after its cooked because the sauce sometimes needs a little thinning, so I might add a little of the fat from the pan (some of the pasta water will do the same thing with less calories/flavor). If I have heavy cream, I’ll add it, if not, it’s fine without. You can add other non-traditional things like sautéed mushrooms, the scallions, or you can just keep it simple, it’s all good.

2 thoughts on “Feast of the Seven Bacons: Pasta Carbonara Recipe”

  1. I ,a practicing Vegetarian, LOVE Spagetti ala Carbonara but I forgot about until now. Thank you ,Dear Anne.Happy 2013 to you and Frank.

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