To most Italians, pasta can be eaten any time of the day or night. This is especially true of Pasta Carbonara which is often called the "bacon and egg pasta" because of two of the main ingredients-bacon and eggs. It's perfect as a midnight snack, entree, or for lunch the next day.
1-16 ounce package of spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine
1/2 cup (or so) of hot pasta water, set aside
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin first cold-pressed olive oil
8 ounces to 1 pound bacon or pancetta, cubed or sliced into small strips*
4-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Or Pecorino Romano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
-Prepare pasta as per directions on box. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until "al dente." Drain the pasta well, reserving about 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce just in case it needs moistening.
-Heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the bacon (or pancetta) and saute' for approximately 3 minutes, until the bacon/pancetta is crisp. Add garlic and saute' for just about 2 minutes to soften.
-Add the hot, drained pasta to the pan and toss for a couple of minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a small mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble. Do this off the heat to make sure this does not happen!
-Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Add more cheese if desired. Serves 4 to 6.
* I like to use the bacon that does not have any kind of maple, hickory or other kind of flavoring. I think Hormel has a Black Label brand. I also like to use more bacon, (my husband really enjoys his bacon) but you may choose to use the lesser amount).
Please note that it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.