My mom remarried when I was a kid, and I was doing everything in my power to dislike her husband. The only problem: He was a great cook, and I was a food-lover. Those attributes are difficult to keep separate, especially when it comes to pasta carbonara. Pasta and bacon was probably the only way to get me to behave.
My next experience with carbonara came about while I was living in a tiny beach town in Australia. I had been away for months and was beginning to miss the tastes of home. I met a guy, he made me
carbonara, and he instantly found the way to my heart. This is a recipe he got from an Italian friend from Bologna.
The ingredients can usually be found in a decently stocked fridge. You need a pound of spaghetti or another long pasta, an onion, a clove or two of garlic, a chile (I prefer serrano), bacon (pancetta is traditional, but is not an item I keep in the house), four eggs, Parmesan cheese, and fresh cracked pepper.
Step One: Boil the pasta water. Slice the onion lengthwise and saute it over medium heat. The goal is to let it begin to caramelize.
Step Two: Once water is boiling, throw in pasta. Simultaneously, mince garlic and chile. Add to the onions and cook until fragrant. It probably will burn your nose. Yes, it hurts.
Step Three: Add bacon. Cook until browned. When pasta is done. Drain. Add to the pan with the bacon. Crack four eggs. Stir. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and fresh cracked black pepper. Enjoy.
The point of this dish is to provide comfort. It is not supposed to be healthy. Most of the flavors come from the rendered fat and raw egg. If you don't like fat or raw egg, this most likely isn't your dish.