Mmmmmmm bacon. Is there a more perfect food?
I know that's duplication, but the thing is, I think carbonara has to be my most favourite go-to food. It's got all the makings: simplicity, tastiness, quickness and of course, bacon (or bacon-like content) . What I haven't determined is if it is the bacon that makes this dish - as bacon pretty much improves any dish - or if it's just a great thing in its own right.
Either way, it's fantastic.
The great thing about carbonara, beyond its purist form anyways, is that you can swap ingredients in and out and still come out with a fantastic product. Once you've established a basic recipe - you can begin to play. Switch-up the pasta to a farfalle or orecchiete. Substitute prosciutto or pancetta for the bacon. Or add veggies such as zucchini, spinach, peas or arugula.
That's why you'll find all sorts of recipes with variations on ingredients and methodology. I encourage you to find the one that works for you. Here's mine (well at least the one I'm using today, I'm likely to change it up next time round).
Linguine Carbonara for Two
2 tsp olive oil
8 strips alder-smoked bacon, sliced in short, thin strips
1/2 medium onion, diced
9 oz dried linguine
2 eggs, at room temperature
4 tablespoons creams, at room temperature
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
In a large Dutch-oven type pot heat the oil on medium-high heat. (Using this kind of pot, serves two purposes, it reduces the splatter from sautéing the bacon and onion, and it serves as the final mixing bowl). Add the bacon and onion and stir to mix. Let the bacon and onion saute until the bacon is crisp and the onion is carmelized. Once ready, turn the heat off and let stand.
Meanwhile, start a pot for boiling water for your pasta. When the water is boiling add the pasta and cook as usual (9-11 minutes).
While the pasta is cooking mix your eggs and cream until blended. Then mix in the cheese.
This final step has to be done relatively quickly once all the pieces are ready. When the pasta is cooked, drain it. Then dump into the bacon and onion pot. Chuck in the egg mixture and mix through. Serve topped with more grated cheese.