I don’t know what it is about pasta alla carbonara that men like so much (the bacon? The eggs?) but I’ve come to think of it as the love potion meal. Honestly, it’s been field tested… twice. My husband reads this blog so I can’t go into details about the first time it worked but trust me, it did!
Cooking dinner for someone (particularly someone you’re interested in) is nerve-wracking on many levels. If you’re desperately trying to impress, the tendency is to go out of your comfort zone and/or do too much so you end up answering the door with your hair matted down with sweat and plastered to your head (not very sexy). Then once he makes it into the house, you’re constantly going back and forth from the kitchen to make sure things aren’t burning or to give a quick stir and working up a sweat that way. Who needs it?!
The pancetta and onions can actually be cooked off ahead of time so you can get that started, put a pot of water on the stove and then take a shower. Then you can eat whenever is convenient; if it’s not going very well, turn the gas on high and get things started so you can get the guy outta there ASAP! If it’s going well (or if you need to suck down a few more cocktails to calm the nerves), dinner can wait a bit. And if it’s going really well, dinner can be put off for brunch the next day – it is bacon and eggs!
Pasta Alla Carbonara
Drizzle of olive oil
1/3 to 1/2 pound pancetta, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup white wine
1/2 pound pasta (usually spaghetti but you can use short-cut pasta too)
Handful of Parm
Lots of coarsely ground black pepper
Drizzle a skillet with the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for a few minutes to render some of the fat and the throw in the onions. Cook until the onions are soft and the pancetta starts to brown, about 7 minutes or so. The pan should start to get some nice brown bits on the bottom; if they start to burn, turn down the heat.
Crank up the heat and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Cook until the liquid is almost gone but there’s still a small amount of juice left in the pan. Set aside, off the heat.
When you’re ready to eat, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add salt and drop the pasta. While the pasta cooks, beat the eggs in a bowl with a handful or so of Parm and lots of black pepper.
When the pasta is ready, drain it and then return it to the hot pot. Dump in the eggs and give everything a stir to coat the pasta with the eggs. The heat from the pot and the pasta will cook the eggs. Dump in the bacon and onion mixture and toss everything together.
Serve topped with additional Parm and pepper.