To make a delicious pasta dish at home, all you need is a little technique. (Wait! Nothing scary, don’t run away!). The one I use often is the Carbonara technique — adding a whisked egg at the very end to make a creamy, silky sauce, then adding pasta water to bring the whole thing together. The key is to add the egg at just the right time, when the pasta is hot but not too hot. Keep these 6 ingredients handy at all times and you’ll always be 15 minutes away from a really tasty dinner:
1. Some bacon or pancetta in the freezer.
2. An onion of some sort in the fridge (shallots, red onion, yellow, etc).
3. Parmesan (the real stuff), eggs, your favorite veggie, and thick spaghetti.
Here’s how to do it:
Pour yourself a glass of rosé, and turn on the new Feist album. Put on a pot of generously salted water to boil.
Next, chop some bacon (it’s easier when it’s frozen!), and dump it into a pan or skillet along with some olive oil. Turn the heat to medium.
Chop a little onion — whatever you have — and add that to the pan. Let the two sauté together until the bacon has begun to crisp up and the onion has softened. Add your pasta to the boiling water and set a timer.
Whisk an egg in a small bowl with 1/4 cup parmesan and some black pepper and set aside.
A few minutes before your pasta is al dente, add whatever veggie you have — if you’re adding peas, you can throw that into the pasta pot with the almost-done pasta. If you’re adding asparagus or broccoli, throw that into your pan with the bacon and onion (maybe a little bit earlier so they have enough time to cook). I had roasted asparagus, so it only needed to heat through.
Reserve a cup of the starchy pasta water. Quickly strain your pasta, then dump it directly into the pan with bacon and onions and veggies. Crank the heat and stir for about 30 seconds, then turn the heat off. Continue to stir and let the pasta cool down, then after another 30 seconds, add the egg while continuing to stir, stir, stir!! Add a splash of pasta water, and move the pasta around until a creamy sauce emerges — adding more water as necessary. It always seems too soupy at first, but within a minute of constant stirring and moving the pasta around, magic will happen.
Twirl pasta into your favorite bowl, pour another glass of rosé, and bam! Dinner is served.
Also, if you ever cook any of my recipes and post a photo to Instagram, tag me so I can see! It makes me unbelievably happy.