Sometimes I forget how simple pasta dishes are! They usually can be put together pretty quickly using ingredients I already have in my pantry and are usually satisfying. One of my all time favorite way to enjoy pasta is a la carbonara. I absolutely love the Tom Cruise’s version of spaghetti carbonara and appreciate that he uses olive oil instead of cream in his sauce. However, I still wanted to try another variation of this pasta dish and the recipe that I decided to try was Giada’s Penne a la Carbonara from her Everyday Italian cookbook.
This dish uses heavy-cream instead of olive oil, so it definitely has a little more depth than the Tom Cruise’s version, but it was still light and delicious. This actually reminds me to a lot of the pasta carbonara that I had during my trip to Italy earlier this summer, so it scored points with Red! It was so good that I was amazed that we don’t make this more frequently!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb pancetta, diced into 1-inch cubes (I used bacon)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste
1 lb dried penne
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over a medium flame. When almost smoking, add the pancetta and saute until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and remove the pan from the heat.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and cream. Stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp of sea salt, and 1/4 tsp of pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and cook until it is just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain. Do not rinse the pasta with water; you want to retain the pasta’s natural starches that help the sauce adhere.
While the pasta is still hot, return it to the pot, and quickly toss with the browned pancetta, then the cream mixture. It’s important to work quickly while the pasta is still hot so that the cream mixture will cook, but not curdle. Toss with the remaining cup of Parmesan cheese and the chopped parsley. Season the pasta with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the pasta to bowls and serve.
Yield: 4-main course serving