Easy Italian in Under 20

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Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature it’s almost November (omg it’s almost November!) as we had another gorgeous afternoon in the mid-70s today! 8)

I walked into work bundled up against the 40 degree chill of the early morning, but by the time I walked out at noon to meet Ben at Walmart to pick up some odds and ends during lunch (the couple that browses the toothpaste aisle together, stays together) I was sweating buckets!

Even now, as the sun has all but set, it’s still warm enough to keep our doors open and let the warm breeze wash in.

Ahhh…

Let’s not talk about the fact that it’s supposed to be in the lower-50s with rain later this week, mmkay?

Crap.

In other news, Trattoria de IGE opened its doors tonight. On the menu, Spaghetti Carbonara.

Translation: pasta (win) with cheese, (WIN) and bacon (WHEE!)

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Now Ben and I never actually ate Spaghetti Carbonara when we were in Italy last year – I was probably too busy gulping gelato, while he was most likely face deep in prosciutto pizza – but I found a recipe on Recipe.com for this tasty Italian staple that looked simple and too good to pass up.

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It calls for only 5 ingredients and can be prepared in under 20 minutes.

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This totally reminded me of the meals we so enjoyed in our adopted country, which always combined just a few good ingredients that were prepared in a fuss-free, mouthwatering way. I was sold!

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I gathered my ingredients: spaghetti, eggs, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, and bacon, and got to work.

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Oh, first I have to show you this awesome find: Bacon Ends & Pieces from Trader Joe’s.

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Basically when companies package bacon, they cut it into the classic bacon shape and the ends and random pieces get cut off and discarded. Well instead of throwing away perfectly good bacon, TJ’s started packaging and selling it at a much lower price. This was like $2 for a giant pack vs $5+ for a normal pack of thick-cut, uncured applewood smoked bacon slices.

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I was afraid “ends and pieces” would translate to “fat and gristle” but this package contained more bacon “meat” than any package of sliced bacon I’ve ever bought. I can’t vouch for every single package, but honestly mine was way more lean and trim than a normal pack of bacon. I was so pleased!

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Anyways, start the Spaghetti Carbonara by cooking up the bacon, draining it on a paper towel, and reserving about a Tablespoon of bacon fat in the skillet before adding the bacon back in.

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Meanwhile, cook some spaghetti next door, and reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid before draining it and adding it to the skillet with the cooked bacon.

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Quickly mix the pasta and bacon before adding the rest of the ingredients.

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Which include eggs! K. Don’t get scared. This dish does not taste eggy in the least bit. The eggs melt over the hot pasta and create a silky, smooth sauce. It’s AWESOME.

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Remove the skillet from the heat and pour in 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk, whisked with salt & pepper.

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Quickly add parmesan cheese and the reserved pasta cooking water, then toss everything together.

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Serve with an extra sprinkle of parm. :)

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And some vino de la casa, obvi! ;)

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This pasta was hearty & chewy, cheesy & salty. The bacon pieces are to die, and really make the meal. Mmm, I could eat this all night long. Maybe I will. Miraculously, there are leftovers. ;)

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Click here for the full recipe! :D

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Heath Bar Blondies to bake up. My sweet tooth was out of control today, but I somehow managed to hold off on nibbling anything sweet until, well, now. :)

Have a great night!

~~~~~

What do you usually order at an Italian restaurant? Dessert, or no dessert?

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Comments

  1. annabelle 10.24.2011

    I saw that bacon recently and was wondering about it–I’ll have to try it next time.

    I usually don’t order dessert at Italian restaurants because I’m too full!

  2. Lisa 10.24.2011

    chicken parmesan, or sometimes cheese ravioli. once in a while i’ll get a side of tiramisu. :)

  3. Looks amazing! This is something I’ve always wanted to make. I feel like you’ve made this before, no? Heath bar blondies sound amazing!

  4. I’ve been eyeing those bacon ends and pieces at TJ’s….good to know they’re a great buy!! And spaghetti carbonara….droooool!!! Can’t go wrong that combo of ingredients.

  5. Erika 10.24.2011

    I LOVVE a good lasagna, but sometimes that is a little too filling. I also like chicken parm! No way to go wrong :-)

  6. Sarah 10.24.2011

    I saw this on “The Best Thing I Ever Made” the other day! If I liked bacon (I know — I’m the only one that hates it!), I’d be all for it. Here’s the recipe:

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/spaghetti-alla-carbonara-recipe/index.html

  7. Jan 10.24.2011

    I made the same thing last night to rave reviews! I found the recipe in the fall Williams Sonoma catslog. A little bit more involved than yours, but also delicious!

  8. Love pasta carbonara! I randomly made a dish using egg in a similar way tonight too – pesto & feta spaghetti topped with a fried egg! The egg creates a sauce in much the same way but the whites stay solid when sliced & mixed throughout. Egg is such a great pasta addition for creaminess & protein – so good.

  9. Whit 10.24.2011

    I love pasta carbonara so much.
    Today, I went to my favorite Italian restaurant in the area. They have a lunch buffet, and it is amazing.
    The farfalle with peas and pancetta is my favorite.

  10. Nancy 10.24.2011

    Had delicious butternut squash ravioli and spinach salad at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Bellevue, WA complete with delicious crescent shaped lemon cookies for dessert. Absolutely delicious!

  11. I’m a fettucine alfredo girl! I love the stuff! I usually don’t order dessert because I’ve eaten so much pasta and bread that I can’t hold another bite!

  12. anything with bacon (especially pasta!) is good in my book :)

    heath bar blondies?! yes, please!

  13. Jennifer Getts 10.24.2011

    i have to say i have a ‘blog’ crush on you. ha!!!
    everything. single. thing i’ve made of yours….is to die for.

    tonight i made your VEGGIE pasta…and oh my lord…yummy!! my two boys and husband LOVED it :o)

    i follow you on twitter (@jenngetts) and i think i’ve ‘favorited’ almost all of yours!! ha!!

  14. Lindsey 10.24.2011

    Usually pasta with in a tomato sauce, I am not a fan of creamy sauces OR anything with seafood! And typically no dessert! I am so lame ;) But I prefer ice cream or fro-yo :)

  15. Machelle 10.24.2011

    oh that looks wonderful!! and just 5 ingredients….are you kidding me??? you are a woman after my heart! ha! i WILL be makin this one! i seem to always order something w/marinara sauce…spaghetti, chicken parmesan, cheese ravioli. and every once in a blue moon, feticcini alfredo! Sonny’s Bistro in Saylorville has FAB alfredo sauce!

  16. I know I’m about a decade too late, but I just discovered chicken parm. I have no idea why I waited so long to order it – it’s heavenly!

  17. Chris 10.24.2011

    I am so picking up that bacon at TJ’s! Oh, and I have one more pumpkin recipe for you (make it while Ben’s not around) – a smoothie! This recipe looked right up your alley:

    http://www.brettbara.com/recipes/recipe-pumpkin-smoothie/

  18. Sherrie 10.24.2011

    Thanks you so much for the info on the bacon ends and pieces! I saw this a couple weeks ago at my store and didn’t get it because I thought it sound like the nasty leftovers, now I know better!

    Another great recipe – thanks for sharing – it looks awesome!

  19. This pasta looks so tasty, creamy, and rich! I would have NEVER in a million years thought to put eggs into a pasta dish..but it makes sense!

    I will for sure be buying bacon…like tonight, ha. And making this tomorrow.

  20. lindsay 10.24.2011

    I made a different carbonara recipe this weekend and it turned out terrible – the recipe itself had too much liquid in it and then I used turkey bacon instead of real bacon… did not fly. I’m going to try this 5 ingredient recipe next time.

  21. Carrie 10.24.2011

    Carbonara sounds SO good. My husband makes a mean plate of pasta, but he uses shallots in his. LOVE smelling the shallots sauteing!

  22. Kath 10.24.2011

    I love Pasta Carbonara! Yours looks great! Good for you, using uncured bacon without nitrates! ;)

  23. Yea – pasta is my husband’s FAVORITE dish. I just read this out loud to him and his response..”please make that for me tomorrow.” :) Thanks for the great idea!

  24. Angie 10.24.2011

    Yum! I just had carbonara at a restaurant in Minneapolis this weekend. Now might be the time for me to try making it at home :)

  25. I’ll be buying that bacon ASAP! This dish looks yummy. I love chicken parm and fettuccine alfredo but I like to order different things!

  26. Usually I’ll roll with a spinach lasagna or a baked pasta. No dessert – just red wine!

  27. I usually stick with a pasta w/ marinara sauce. I prefer red sauce over a creamy white sauce. We don’t usually get dessert at italian restaurants b/c we are so full from bread + pasta. Carabbas bread + dipping oils is my absolute favorite italian restaurant treat!!

  28. My fiance is ALL about dessert, so he normally orders it but I’d much rather eat more pasta and pass on the dessert when at an Italian restaurant!

  29. erica 10.24.2011

    i’m drooling!!!! i must try this!

    i usually order a picatta or just a simple pasta w/tomato and basil :)

  30. I’m a pesto kind of girl, so I usually get penne with pesto. Usually, I am too full for dessert, but a really good dessert I had once was a single scoop of vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso poured over it. Delicious and the perfect size if you have already had one-to-many slices of bread.

    p.s. I keep meaning to post this here since I know you are a Trader Joe’s lover like myself. The recipes on this blog are all made using only TJ’s ingredients. I can seriously plan a whole weeks worth of meals from here without having to step foot into another grocery store. Score! :-) http://blog.cooktj.com/

  31. Laura T. 10.25.2011

    love that bacon! its the only type of bacon i buy! you must have gotten lucky (or maybe i just pick the wrong packages) because every time I’ve gotten this bacon, it had a lot of fat it in and not a lot of legit meat. But I’m not complaining, its still delicious! :)

  32. Mmm I love spaghetti carbonara!
    Yours looks really delicious, I might have to make some soon :-)
    Your photos are gorgeous!

  33. Teresa K. 10.25.2011

    Hey – I’m back! – picked up a new computer (whee!) and have to share there is a place on a back street in Schenectady, NY called Ferrari’s (just like the car).
    Straight from Italy hand made, home made Pasta! BEST place evah! Parking is difficult – no reservations accepted – so you have to go early – but oh – nothing like it.

  34. Jessica 10.25.2011

    ALWAYS order dessert!!. And I usually get some kind of a rich and creamy sauce. I love spinach fettucine with a garlic cream sauce and lots of parm and cracked pepper on top. Mmmmmmmmm.

  35. Becky 10.25.2011

    Hi Kristin!

    I just got an email from the owners of Great Harvest here in WDM that says they’re going out of business and closing the bakeries. Do you know anything about this?? They’re always crazy busy every time I go in there! ???

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.25.2011

      It’s true and SO SAD :( Such great people, with such great products. I will miss them!!!

  36. Traci 10.25.2011

    I’m mostly Italian and I love going the lighter route sometimes and ordering bronzini (a succulent – I kid you not – white fish from the Mediterranean). I had it out the other night, and it came wrapped in foil with a light lemon sauce, green olives, capers, tomatoes, and garlic. Try bronzini – you won’t be disappointed. Now I’m dreaming about it again…

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.25.2011

      That sounds awesome! I will look for it the next time I’m out at a an Italian restaurant! :)

  37. Rachel 10.25.2011

    I almost always go for cheese ravioli in meat sauce whenever I’m out. And if tiramisu is on the menu, I don’t care how full I am, I WILL order some!

  38. Andrea 10.25.2011

    I had AMAZING carbonara in Italy and have been wanting to recreate it at home! Thanks for the recipe!

  39. That looks AMAZING! I wonder if I could sub in tempeh bacon for the bacon?

  40. Tia 10.25.2011

    My favorite Italian dish is seafood alfredo served at Olive Garden. I can usually only finish half of it and I am already too full to order dessert!

  41. I always try and get something new but my go-to food at Italian restaurants are Stuffed Mushrooms (Appetizer) and maybe some form of pasta with a white sauce or alfredo. Our local restuarant has a Squid Ink Pasta with Lobster that is absolutely TO DIE FOR!!! Oh…and OF COURSE Tiramisu for dessert.

  42. VeggieGirl 10.25.2011

    Lol, the couple that browses toothpast together stays together, love it ;)

  43. Sold. I can’t wait to make this!!!!

  44. Liz 10.25.2011

    this is proof that I’m obsessed with food: i had a dream (nightmare?!) last night that I made this for my family and forgot the BACON! I was so embarrassed and convinced that it would be absolutely pointless without the bacon that I hid under the table.

  45. Janet 10.25.2011

    whisked egg + extra yolk, tossed in just prior to serving? Since no one else asked I am obviously missing something…how is the egg safe to eat in this recipe?

  46. Elizabeth 10.25.2011

    I wonder what the spaghetti would taste like with egg whites. Do you think the recipe would still work?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.25.2011

      Mmm, I’m not sure! The yolk kind of makes the sauce and is what makes it Spaghetti Carbonara!

      • Elizabeth 10.25.2011

        Ok thanks!

  47. TJ’s and bacon for the win! I have a soft spot for Italian desserts. Like tiramisu. Oh baby. For a main entree I like fish soup. Call me crazy, but on a cool day that’s all I crave! With some good crusty bread for dipping.

  48. ana 10.25.2011

    I love ya, IGE, but shredded Parmesan is where it’s AT. Even better, buy the chunks from the wheels and shred it yourself – the difference will astonish you!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.25.2011

      I actually don’t like the taste of fresh grated parm. Too…something…I can’t put my finger on it!

  49. Carrie 10.25.2011

    Last night I made Rachael Ray’s Ceasar Spaghetti, which is a similar recipe and it turned out awesome! My family is real Italian, and we always like Pizzelle’s – so good!!!! They are really expensive to buy in the store, and so cheap to make at home!

  50. Mmmm this looks delicious. I usually can’t resist fettucine alfredo when we go out for italian – but mushroom or butternut squash ravioli are also a favorite. I only ever have room for dessert if I box up 1/2 my dinner and purposefully save room! :)

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