Pasta Carbonara is always a favorite in my household. In fact, it’s my husband’s favorite pasta dish, and during the summertime I like to add a touch of the season to the recipe to make it slightly more special. Making Carbonara isn’t difficult, you just need to know the right steps to take, so the eggs don’t curdle when you add them to the pasta. There’s something about this dish that always reminds me of dining in a dark Italian restaurant, somewhere in Little Italy. Gosh, I really miss that right about now, but there’s nothing second best, than making it right in your own kitchen.
I chose a rigatoni pasta for this dish because I love the size and chewiness of its texture. I think it works nicely with chunky pieces of asparagus and bits of pancetta. The sauce is comprised of two things, eggs and water, that’s it. Really, Pasta Carbonara is one of those meals you can make with pantry items in a jiffy, and it doesn’t take much planning.
Adding pasta water to the eggs before combining them with the cooked pasta is key, so they don’t scramble. A dusting of Parmesan cheese provides a hint of saltiness and thickens the sauce a hair, pretty simple stuff really. I love to make this meal for my family when I need something quick and easy without a lot of fuss. They tend to love this dinner more than recipes that I spend hours making in the kitchen. Go figure.
12 ounces rigatoni pasta
3 whole eggs + 1 yolk, room temperature
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
4 ounces Pancetta, diced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese + more for dusting
olive oil for cooking
salt & pepper
- In a large saucepan or pot, boil water for pasta. Add 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and add pasta. Cook pasta until al dente, about 9 minutes. Reserve 1 cup boiling water, then drain. Set aside.
- In same saucepan, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and place over medium heat. Add Pancetta and cook for 2 minutes. Cut asparagus into thirds and add to saucepan, stir. Cook for 4 minutes.
- Whisk eggs together, adding 1/4 cup hot water. Turn heat to low and add cooked pasta. Pour warmed eggs gently over pasta, stir immediately. Continue to toss pasta with egg mixture, while adding Parmesan cheese. Turn off heat. Add a few more tablespoons of warm water to thin sauce.
- Serve on plates and dust with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!