There is nothing more pleasing than a bowl of cheese-slicked noodles, the Roman answer to homey comfort food. A mere handful of ingredients easily stashed in the refrigerator – eggs, cheese, and frozen peas – effortlessly transform into a rich and glistening sauce which coats a heaping bowl of pasta studded with crispy bacon bits and sweet peas. While the peas are optional, they add a fresh and sweet counterpoint to the salty bacon, and allow you to righteously call this a complete meal, with vegetables, in a bowl. Serve with Palazzo Schiavino Barbera.
The key to making carbonara is to add the whisked eggs and cheese to the hot noodles away from direct heat, while stirring constantly to thoroughly coat the noodles. The heat from the pasta will help to cook the eggs while preventing them from scrambling. It may sound complicated, but once you give it a go, you will see how easy and foolproof this method is.
Spaghetti Carbonara with Sweet Peas
1 pound spaghetti or bucatini
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large eggs
1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente and drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon, stirring to separate the pieces, and cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel.
- While the bacon is cooking, whisk the eggs and cheese in a bowl until smooth; set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan. Add the peas, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the drained pasta to the skillet and stir to coat the noodles. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the eggs and cheese, stirring constantly to coat the pasta and to prevent the eggs from cooking. Return the bacon to the pan and stir once more. Serve immediately with extra cheese for sprinkling.
Lynda Balslev is an award winning writer, recipe developer, and cookbook author currently based in the San Francisco Bay area. She studied cooking in Paris and remained in Europe for 16 years, while living in Switzerland, England, and Denmark, where she learned that the best way to immerse oneself in a new culture was at the kitchen table. When she is not writing about food and wine through the lens of the travel, she writes about travel and culture through the lens of food and wine. Either way, it’s a win-win, and she looks forward to her next trip.