Sometimes the combination of simple ingredients in their truest form can take a meal from simple to sublime. Bucatini Carbonara is a lovely example of that alchemy. Pasta, mixed with a velvety mixture of cream, egg yolks, and Parmigiano Reggiano, as well as rendered pancetta and some garlic and shallot and you have a beautifully simple, but luxurious meal. These ingredients are things I usually have on hand, so I love to make this for an elegant weeknight meal, when I don’t feel like leftovers or tacos! This would be a lovely Valentine’s Day meal for two. Pair with red wine* and candles.
adapted from: Food & Wine
6 ounces bucatini or perciatelli
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, cut into ¼ -inch dice
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
Freshly ground pepper
In a large pot of heavily salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until most of the fat has been rendered, about 7 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cream and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the hot pasta to the skillet, and stir to coat, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and stir in 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water, the 2 tablespoons of grated cheese, and the egg yolks. Season with salt. Divide the pasta into bowls and sprinkle with parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Serve, passing more cheese at the table.
*Serve with a robust & tannic Tuscan wine to refresh the palate after each creamy and luxurious bite.