At the time this article is written, the world is undergoing an unprecedented global health crisis called COVID-19/Coronavirus.
It began in the Wuhan province in November, 2019, and it slowly made its way across the Pacific Northwest. By January of 2020, the news of this virus’s spread made it to the United States. It was a big deal but many of the Americans didn’t think too much of it, especially its virality was swept under by the sudden death of Koby Bryant. I remember attending a work conference in Southern California, being stuck in a huge conference room with over a thousand people, only mildly concerned that I would be infected with a cold from someone who’s coughing near me. Little did we know, in just about a month, coughing in public would become a public no-no. And travel? All of that came to a halt.
It is a time like this I find DIY projects and home cooking so much more empowering. Yes, a time like this when supporting local businesses is critical, it is also critical to have an option to order takeout or make your own food. It is equally important to support your local farmers by shopping at your local farmers market.
My pantry and fridge are fairly well stocked with flour, rice, pasta and an assortment of proteins. At the time of this article, I am also working on fermentation projects. As soon as I can come up with delicious recipes from those fermentation projects, I will share them with you. But for now, let’s talk about this simple, weeknight pasta dish – bucatini carbonara with bacon.
To make this dish, you mostly need 4 ingredients – bucatini, bacon, egg and cheese. Here’s how you can transform these 4 main ingredients into a delicious meal in under 20 minutes
Bucatini (if it’s really for 2 people, you probably need 1/4 of a box of even less depending on your appetite)
Bacon (guanciale/panchetta as substitutes)
Egg (if you prefer it to be creamier, use 2 egg yolks; otherwise use one whole egg)
Herbs (think of chives or parsley; optional but highly desirable)
Parmesan cheese, grated (depends on how cheesy you like your pasta, probably just a little under 1/4 cup)
1.) Slice up 2 pieces of bacon (or one per person) and add them to your pan
2.) Slowly heat up your pan in medium heat and cook until the fat is completely rendered and bacon crisped. Mine takes about 8 minutes but yours can take longer depending on the size of your pan.
3.) While your bacon is crisping in the pan, heat up a pot of water for your pasta
4.) Once the water begins to boil, add salt. The amount of salt depends on the amount of pasta you cook as well as the amount of water you use. To pass the taste test, the water should taste like ocean water
5.) Cook the pasta according to the box’s instruction
6.) If the bacon isn’t crisped yet, use this time to grate your parmesan cheese.
7.) Once the bacon is crisped, pick out the bacon. Set it aside to cool.
8.) Secure a piece of paper towel around a manikin using a rubber band to make a simple filter. Pour bacon fat through and into the manikin. Set it aside for future use or you can also drizzle few drops into the final carbonara for extra flavor.
9.) Once the bacon bits is cooled, add it into a bowl. Then add your egg(s) into the bowl and beat it until it’s well mixed.
10.) At this point, your pasta should be done. Rather than draining the pasta, you can use a tong, lift the cooked pasta (shake off some of the excess pasta water) and add it directly into the bacon/egg mixture. Be sure to swirl the pasta in the egg mixture vigorously to prevent the egg from cooking and clumping up.
11.) Continue to add the pasta into the mixture and swirl vigorously until all the pasta/egg bacon mixture is well incorporated.
12.) Slowly add in the grated cheese while mixing the pasta. Let the residual heat melt the cheese.
13.) Add in the chopped herbs and continue to mix the pasta.
14.) Season to taste in the end, and also add tons of freshly ground pepper into the pasta dish. If you think it’s way too much pepper, that’s probably the right amount. Mix it well before serving.