We are lucky to have a great source of artisan bacon (among many other delicacies) in our neighbourood but it’s probably too close (and too delicious) for our own good. I often buy a pound a week and that’s raised our consumption by at least four times what we used to eat when we bought the water-laden supermarket kind.
Nevertheless, I have no regrets; It’s nitrate free, I drain off (most of) the fat and eating it supports the local conservation of heritage pig breeds, in this case Tamworth and Large Blacks.
But a pound a week is a lot for our family considering that we try to have a couple meatless dinners through the week. And, because it’s nitrate free, this bacon doesn’t keep for more than a week if it’s sliced. So, I sometimes find myself with a half a pound or so leftover or a few week’s worth of frozen rashers looking for a way to get on the menu. Making bucatini carbonara is a great, fast and delicious way to use up that bacon.
While the main ingredients in this dish are bacon and eggs, it doesn’t taste like breakfast. The eggs and parmesan create a silky smooth sauce that’s very rich, almost to the point of being decadent.
Bucatini noodles (more or less depending on how many you’re serving and how much you like to serve. I always make far too much, but it reheats well for weekday lunches. You could also use spaghetti or fettucini, but the bucatini holds up to the richness of the sauce best. )
Grated parmesan cheese (be generous)
Half a pound or so of good bacon or pancetta
A clove or two of garlic
This is fast and easy but you want to be careful that you don’t scramble the eggs.
Boil a pot of well-salted water for the pasta. Meanwhile chop the bacon and fry it slowly in a deep pan (you’ll be adding the pasta later). Beat the eggs with a touch of salt and pepper and set aside.Grate a good handful of parmesan cheese.
When the bacon is almost crisp remove it and set aside. Drain most of the bacon fat and saute the chopped garlic on low heat.
When the pasta is ready, drain and toss it in the pan with the garlic and the bacon and half the parmesan. REMOVE FROM HEAT (or, you’ll get scrambled eggs). Pour in the beaten eggs and stir quickly to coat the pasta. You should end up with a wonderfully rich, smooth sauce coating the noodles.
Top with the rest of the parmesan some Italian parsley or some chopped sundried tomato.
Serve and don’t tell anyone how easy it was.