When my family wants breakfast for dinner they don’t mean pancakes and sausage. Sure, they want bacon and eggs, but they want them tossed with pasta, crisp onion and nutty cheese for some ultimate kitchen comfort. Carbonara is a family favorite, and I make many variations. “Carbonara 3 ways” includes bacon, pancetta and prosciutto (no wonder why my husband has heart trouble), and sometimes I’ll add an extra yolk or a touch of cream, other times frozen peas or fresh basil. The basic recipe, though, is still the favorite: delightfully uncomplicated and infinitely comforting.
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
¼ lb. pancetta, chopped (You can substitute regular bacon or guanciale if you can get it. Salume Beddu usually has this delightful pork treat.)
1 small onion, diced
2 eggs (as fresh as possible)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lb. pasta of your choice (Spaghetti is traditional, but we like to use penne.)
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
• Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
• Drizzle no more than a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet (you should skip this step if you are using bacon), and sauté the pancetta until it’s cooked through. Remove to a bowl lined with a paper towel.
• Sauté the onion in the same skillet for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the bacon back into the skillet.
• Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, add the pancetta and onions and season with black pepper.
• Cook the pasta to your liking. (I like it just past al dente for this dish; I find it a bit more comforting.)
• Drain the pasta and immediately transfer it to a serving bowl.
• Working very quickly so that you don’t end up with scrambled eggs, pour the egg mixture over the pasta and toss it all together; the heat from the pasta will cook the eggs.
• Add the cheese, toss some more and serve immediately.