Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara

This is one of my favorite comfort dishes.  I've made many different versions of spaghetti carbonara over the years, but this one is certainly my favorite (not counting the Spaghetti Carbonara we had in Florence, Italy at a tiny little street cafe in an out of the way alley not far from the flat we rented - our first meal in Italy).  The dish completely came together for me after watching Mario Batali separate the eggs and serve the dish with the whole egg yolk on top. 

The dish is traditionally very creamy and cheesy, but I wanted to up the flavor impact.  So my version contains a good amount of garlic, and the addition of some red pepper flakes at the end.  And I generally use diced pancetta for this dish - but *gasp* there was none available at Whole Foods yesterday.  The bastards.  Luckily, there are tons of artisnal bacons out there, so I used a really nice smoked slab bacon that I've had before, and it worked out just fine.  And of course, I used duck eggs (which are surprisingly much harder to separate - I literally had to pinch off the whites from the yolks) - and I doubled them up.  I usually put just one yolk on top, but I wanted to use 4 egg whites in the mix, so each plate got 2 yolks.

My husband often doesn't clean his plate (that's what the dog is for!) - but when I make this, he usually licks the bowl clean.  :)  Just saying.

1 lb. spaghetti (prepared according to package minus 1-2 minutes cook time)
4-6 oz Pancetta, cubed (or 4 slab-cut slices of good bacon, cubed)
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cream
1/2 - 1 cup grated Pecorino cheese
4 eggs (duck or chicken, whatever you like)
Red pepper flakes

In a large pan, heat up a small bit of olive oil.  Add the pancetta, bacon & garlic all at the same time.  Add a pinch of salt.  Cook for about 10 minutes, until the pancetta renders most of its fat and the onions become translucent.  Add the cream and cook for a minute.  Add the just under-cooked pasta and toss everything together.  Remove from the heat and add cheese and pepper (I added about 2 1/2 Tbl.) and egg whites.  Stir through completely - the eggs will break beautifully throughout the dish.  Pile into pasta bowls, and top with egg yolks - sprinkle red pepper flakes over the top if you would like a touch of heat.  When ready to eat, simply break the yolk and let it melt through the dish.


  1. I keep coming back to this because it looks so good. I have eaten spaghetti carbonara before but I have never made it. And, I have never had it like this , with the egg yolks on top. I have to admit, I'm a little leery of the yolk sitting there. It gets warm enough to melt down through the pasta? It won't just be all slimy and cold (sorry, I have to ask) and it will mix in nicely? I'm just a little worried the raw egg might ruin it for me and then Joe would be like " You're not going to eat that? Give it to me I'll eat it." Then I would have to pout and go make myself some popcorn, lol. That being said, I REALLY want to try this.


  2. Barb, you should try it! The pasta is still hot if you cook it at the end in the pan with the sauce. When you break the yolk it smooths out over everything and is perfect!!

  3. Ok, I'm going to try this just as soon as it slows down a little here(planting time)and Joe gets in the house at a decent time so that I don't have to eat it by myself. I don't want to make something that sounds this good and then not have anyone to eat it with!! I'll let you know how it turns out.


  4. We had thunderstorms yesterday that chased everyone into the house so I made this. It was excellent! I didn't have any pancetta so I used bacon, and I only put one egg yolk on mine. I threw the other one outside into the cat dish. Don't have a heart attack, it was just a chicken egg! Joe let the mama duck sit on her eggs, so no more duck eggs for a bit. Anyway, it was really, really good and I will be making it again. Thanks for sharing the recipe.