After last weeks almond cookie extravaganza I was left with three egg yolks that I dumped into a plastic container and placed in the fridge because I couldn’t bare to throw them away (these are cage free, organic, farmers market eggs – you don’t throw those away!). I figured in a couple of days I would get around to using them to make pudding or mousse or something equally rich and decadent but for once in my life I was craving something savory and I knew there had to be a way to incorporate them into a dinner dish. I thought about aioli or something equally Fancy-French sounding but I wanted rustic and cozy – elevated comfort food, which means I wanted pasta carbonara. Carbonara in the most traditional sense has no cream or milk, the creaminess is derived from the eggs. I figured a version made with egg yolks could only be more creamy and delicious. For a little color (and to make me feel better about basically eating cheesy pasta for dinner), I added a couple of handfuls of thinly sliced spinach to my whole wheat spaghetti which allowed me to pretend this was a healthy dinner.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Recipe Adapted from Molto Italiano by Mario Batali
¼ pound pancetta, guanciale, or really good bacon, diced
1/3 pound spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
Generous ½ cup Parmesan
2 cups packed spinach leaves washed and then thinly sliced
3 egg yolks (or this can be made with 2 regular eggs)
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it boils, salt the water. In a large sauté pan set over medium heat, cook the pancetta until it has rendered its fat and is crispy and golden..
Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until just al dente. Scoop out ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta.
In the sauté pan where you cooked the pancetta, add 2 tablespoons of the pasta water and then toss in the pasta and spinach, shaking the pan for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add a generous 1/3 cup of parmesan, the egg yolks (or whole eggs), and a generous amount of black pepper. Serve with the remaining parmesan and some more pepper sprinkle on top.