I love this recipe. As an amateur cook on a constant quest for culinary knowledge, skill and the development of a sophisticated palate, it is rare for me to even go back and make the same recipe twice. I like to think that is only because my exceptional curiosity is always taking me to new frontiers, recipes I’ve never made before, ingredients I’ve never heard of. I’m afraid, however, that sometimes it’s because I’m scared whatever it was won’t turn out as deliciously as it did the first time and I will be horribly disappointed. It’s a quit-while-you’re-ahead type of mentality.
I think it is important to have your “go-to” recipes though. The tried and true ones you can always go back to and be sure they’ll dazzle a dinner crowd, or perfectly satisfy your late-night pasta craving. And you can learn a lot by executing the same recipe multiple times. You can learn how to make it better. I’ve made this carbonara recipe, originally from Bon Appétit April 2008, more times than I can count. It’s really fun to make and the result is so awesome. Let’s just say, it’s hard not to eat the entire pan full of creamy, cheesy bacon topped orecchiette all by your self.
- 5 applewood-smoked bacon slices, diced
- 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/3-inch pieces
- 10 ounces orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or small shells
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet if necessary. Add leeks and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Whisk eggs and 1/2 cup Parmesan in medium bowl to blend; gradually whisk in 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta to leeks in skillet and stir to heat. Remove skillet from heat. Pour egg mixture over pasta and stir until sauce is just creamy and eggs are no longer raw, about 2 minutes. (Return skillet to very low heat if egg mixture is runny; do not overcook or eggs will curdle.) Add some of remaining 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid to pasta if needed to moisten. Stir in bacon and parsley. Serve pasta, passing additional cheese separately.