just a little spaghetti carbonara

Spaghetti alla carbonara (or linguine alla carbonara in this case) is an intimidating recipe for me namely because of the use of egg to create the unique and unforgettable sauce.  Two fears bubble up: the concern that the egg won’t get cooked at all, and on the flip side, that the egg will scramble and the meal looks more like breakfast than the delicate Italian dish I was hoping for.  Both fears turned out to be a little ridiculous and both the significant lover and I were happy with the results.

For the recipe, I turned to Tyler Florence of the Food Network.  Normally, if I’m looking for recipe inspiration, I turn to my fellow bloggers but for this dish, I really wanted to find something that looked like the basic nuts and bolts recipe for this classic dish.  If I could have found an Italian grandmother to teach me, I would have.

just a little spaghetti carbonara
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2
Spaghetti (Linguine) Carbonara for two with kale.
  • ½ lb of noodles
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 slices of slab bacon (or pancetta if you have it) cut into small strips
  • 3 garlic cloves finely grated
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup of parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 4 big leaves of kale dino* cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup of cooked peas
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add bacon and saute until it begins to crisp.
  4. Add garlic and toss with bacon and bacon fat, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Add pasta to boiling water to cook for approximately 8 minutes, but check for al dente.
  6. In a small bowl, beat eggs and cheese until smooth.
  7. When pasta is done cooking, reserve about a cup of pasta water for the sauce.
  8. Add cooked pasta to bacon and garlic along with kale and peas.
  9. Toss to coat all with the bacon fat.
  10. Set temperature to the lowest setting or take pan off heat entirely if pan is very hot.
  11. Pour in egg/cheese mixture, stirring consistently to coat all ingredients.
  12. Make sure the eggs do not scramble by keeping heat low.
  13. Add a little bit of pasta water to the pan until sauce becomes desired consistency.
  14. Plate and garnish with a little freshly cracked pepper.
spaghetti carbonara

I found it unnecessary to add any additional salt to this recipe other than what was already in the pasta water and the salt factor of the cheese and bacon.  I also liked slicing the kale into thin strips so that it could easily wrap around the fork alongside the noodles for a flavorful and texture-full bite.  Peas are a common addition to carbonara and I personally find the sweetness a perfect pairing to the salty bacon.  My recipe was created by cutting the Tyler Florence recipe proportions in half with the additions of the vegetables.  If you would like to make this dish for a family of 4-6, refer to Florence’s proportions and double the amount of peas and kale used here. Let me know how you like it and if there are any recipes that make you nervous to try!