Coal Miners Spaghetti ~ Pasta Carbonara

I admit it, I’m a pasta junky! I have made my fair share of different pasta dishes, but Carbonara has alluded me until just last week. I’m really not sure why? Maybe it was the egg yolks that concerned me? It turns out those egg yolks make the most amazing rich sauce, that perfectly coats each fine strand of spaghetti! I think I might have thought that Carbonara was harder to make, but it’s actually very easy. The peas pop in your mouth adding great texture. The salty bacon and the hint of sweetness from the peas will almost guarantee you help yourself to a second portion.

The exact origins of Carbonara is a little foggy, but it is thought to have been invented in Rome, Italy around the time of World War II. Eggs and bacon were being rationed out by U.S. Soldiers, the basic components of this tasty treat. While on post, U.S. Soldiers couldn’t get enough of the newly invented pasta dish and it made it’s way back to the United States with them. Overall an easy dish to make that is simple in terms of ingredients, but shockingly flavorful!

Oh yes, in case you are wondering ~ Carbonara means charcoal burner and is sometimes referred to as coal miners spaghetti.

What you will need -

1 Tbs Olive Oil
10 oz Frozen Peas
8 oz Bacon
¼ Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese (plus extra for topping)
3 Large Eggs (2 whole eggs, one yolk) Room Temperature
¼ Yellow Onion Chopped fine
2 Cloves Garlic Chopped
¼ tsp Pepper
¼ tsp Salt
1 lb Spaghetti

You are going to need a bowl to mix the pasta in (use a metal bowl if you have one). Place that bowl under your pasta strainer in your sink. We want to warm the bowl with the pasta water, so that it helps to keep the pasta hot to cook the eggs once they are added. Defrost your peas (I heated mine in the microwave for a few minutes).

Start your water boiling. Once the water boils add your spaghetti and cook according to the directions on the box. While the water is heating up, in a large frying pan add your olive oil and heat your pan over medium heat. Once your oil is hot add your bacon and cook until browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil in the pan… I’m sure you will try a piece, I did! Add your chopped onion to the frying pan and cook until translucent 3 – 5 minutes. Add your garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, don’t let the garlic brown or it will become bitter. Once the onion and garlic is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Poor off any excess fat, leaving about 1 Tbs in the pan. Return the bacon to the pan. The bacon, onions and garlic must be finished before you can strain your pasta.

In another bowl crack two of the eggs. Then for the third egg you need to separate the yolk from the white. This is pretty easy, you crack the egg over a separate bowl and pass the yolk back and forth between the halved egg shells. The egg white will fall into the seperate bowl and you will be left with just the yolk. Add the yolk to the bowl with the other two cracked eggs.

Add the Pecorino Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously to add some air to the mixture.

Timing at this point becomes critical, because you are going to use the heat of the pasta to cook the eggs (or bring them to a temperature that is safe to consume) and not scramble them.

Strain your pasta making sure to collect the water in the bowl placed under the strainer. Quickly shake you pasta to remove any excess liquid. Pour the spaghetti into the frying pan with the oil, bacon, onions and garlic, toss together. Carefully pour the water out of the bowl. Pour all of the ingredients from the frying pan into the now heated bowl. Add the egg mixture and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to coat all of the pasta with the egg mixture. Add your peas and mix them into the spaghetti. Plate, top with a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano cheese and eat at once!

{Top Photograph taken by Carly Dunn}

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11 Comments on “Coal Miners Spaghetti ~ Pasta Carbonara”

  1. I’m gonna have to try this!

  2. kitchenarian says:

    This looks amazing and I love the tutorial on separating the egg yolk – it can be a tricky technique.

    I must try this because you know how much I loved your meatballs and marinara sauce! You definitely know your pasta.

  3. Love the WWII element in this recipe history. I think it’s cool that this and the “Americano” coffee were “invented” around the same time and under similar circumstances.

  4. Jeremey says:

    Carbonara is the perfect pasta dish, IMO.

  5. I love egg yolks. They make me complete.

  6. So I have to ask…does it taste eggy at all? That’s what’s kept me from trying this before–fear of eggy pasta. But my love of bacon may overcome that… ;)

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