Sometimes you just need a nice, straightforward recipe that is good enough for company and yet easy enough to make on the fly. Spaghetti carbonara definitely fits the bill, and the version from Pioneer Woman is about as good as they come. Here's how it played out in our kitchen...
Here's the recipe, which is actually from Pioneer Woman's friend, Pastor Ryan:
• Cooking with Ryan: Pasta Carbonara
First of all, let us just say that whether it's Ree (the Pioneer Woman) herself or any of her cohorts doing the talking, we love the style and voice in which these recipes are written. Each step is clearly explained both in the text and through pictures, and there's a dash of good humor that makes us relax and think happy thoughts. If you haven't already discovered this site, prepare to spend many happy hours going through the archives.
As expected, this recipe for pasta carbonara was no exception and the instructions were very easy to follow. The only real change we made was that we discarded most of the bacon grease after rendering the bacon, leaving behind about a tablespoon for cooking the onions and garlic. This is just our personal preference, plus we thought it was fussy to transfer the onions out and back into the pan.
Lest you think we're all that virtuous, we did still add that last lump of butter added at the end. Yum!
The finished dish was just as good as you'd expect. Creamy, a little crunch from the bacon, a good balance of flavors...Like Pastor Ryan, we had trouble holding a conversation until all our plates were clean. We served it with a simple salad of greens and the same wine we used to deglaze the pan, a new favorite sauvignon blanc from Oyster Bay Wines.
We'd actually never made pasta carbonara at home before - we knew it was easy, but it was stuck in our head as "restaurant food." Happily, now we know better. Also, because we usually have all the ingredients on hand, it's a great dish to have in your back pocket when you feel like a spontaneous dinner party!
Related: Eating Light: 8 Rich Yet Light(er) Pasta Sauces
(Images: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)