I’ve thought about making spaghetti carbonara several times, ever since I was introduced to it in a Ruth Reichl book, but I never did until faced with a nearly empty refrigerator (that fortunately did happen to have very good quality bacon). The rustic simplicity of the dish was always intriguing, but the sheer absence of vegetables and color in a main course turned me off. I have to say that when I did finally make I was not disappointed – by tossing in fresh aromatic herbs a pleasant brightness was achieved that balanced the bacon, egg, and garlic.
The coolest thing about spaghetti carbonara is the fact that you cook the egg by tossing them with the freshly cooked pasta. Egg proteins are very sensitive and even just that small amount of heat is enough to denature and partially coagulate them – in other words, the raw egg starts to thicken as the proteins unwind and join back up. This creates a lovely silkiness akin to a fancy sauce only using egg. This is a great recipe to have in your arsenal for when you don’t have time and aim to please. Below recipe serves 2-3 and is adapted from Ruth Reichl’s recipe.