I have made many variations on pasta Carbonara – pasta with eggs, bacon, and cheese – but this one knocked my socks off. I really didn’t expect it to be magnificent, but it is.
Savory and smoky, with a nutty salt tang from the cheese and a gorgeous golden hue, this spaghetti is the epitome of the unfussy epicure. It should take under half an hour to have this beauty on the table.
The recipe is modified from Johanne Killeen and George Germon’s terrific pasta cookbook, On Top of Spaghetti. The recipe’s original title is “Spaghetti with Egg, Pancetta and Saffron.”
One large pinch (12 threads) saffron
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 thick slices high-quality bacon, diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces dried spaghetti
Place a large pot of water on to boil.
Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in the cheese; set aside.
When the water comes to a boil, salt generously. Add the spaghetti, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking.
In a large skillet, saute the bacon with a tablespoon of olive oil and the red pepper flakes over medium heat. When the bacon is lightly browned but not yet crisp, add the saffron and 1/4 cup of water. Stir together, pulling up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and set aside.
When the spaghetti is done, drain. Place the bacon pan over very low heat and add the spaghetti, stirring to coat with the bacon juices. Working quickly, pour the egg mixture over the pasta and stir to coat. The sauce should quickly become velvety and stick to the pasta. If it’s too thin, keep stirring over low heat until it sets a bit more. Serve right away.
I’m sorry I don’t have a picture! I know, what’s a food blog without pictures? I’m going to work on my food photography skills….
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