Breakfast Carbonara – Not for the faint of heart!

November 30, 2013

This came about as I was rooting in a friend’s fridge for something to eat – I am trying to do more of the “invite myself over and I’ll cook for you” because it gets me out of my house and hanging out with people, and also because I can scam a free meal out of it. =)

Measurements are completely approximate, and honestly this is a pretty simple dish so feel free to play with it.  What I made was 5 good-sized servings.

The goods:

6-8 slices of applewood bacon, chopped

8-ish links raw breakfast sausage links, casing removed (I think what I used was some sort of maple flavored sausage)

about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chorizo (or chourico, depending on where you are), ground or chopped

1 large onion, peeled and sliced thin.

1 small head of garlic, peeled and minced (Yes, I said a HEAD of garlic.  All of it.  I like garlic, okay?)

1 lb pasta – any shape you like.  Traditionally carbonaras are done with long noodles, but I like tube pastas better for holding sauce.  Penne would be great, so would rigatoni or fusili.  This time I used “campanelle”, which came out to be a very pretty flowery shape.

Seasonings: salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, paprika, crushed red peppers, whatever you like

4 eggs, beaten

Some cheese! (Parmesan would be lovely, of course.  I had some sharp cheddar and provolone.)

The method:

Get a big pot of water boiling to cook your pasta in.  While you’re waiting for water to boil, you can be doing all your chopping.

In a big skillet on medium-ish heat, cook your bacon.  Go relatively gently on it to render out all that lovely bacon fat, because THAT is what you’re cooking everything else in.  Cook the bacon until it’s good and dark and crispy, then remove it from the pan.

Oh, at some point in here, hopefully your water will be boiling, so go ahead and add your pasta to it.  Give it a good stir and cook it to al-dente, so somewhere around 10 minutes of boiling, but check the instructions on the package first to be safe.

Crank the heat on the skillet up to medium-high and add your onions.  Cook onions until soft and lightly caramelized, then add your garlic.  Saute for about a minute.

Add your sausage, breaking up the chunks with a wooden spoon or spatula. Do the same with the chorizo/chourico.  Once the meat is cooked through, add the bacon back in.

Hopefully by this point your pasta is done cooking and drained (reserving the pasta liquid).  Add the pasta into your pan (This is why you always use the biggest skillet you have!) and mix everything all up.  Add some of the pasta water if you want things a bit looser.  Add some salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, and dried thyme (or whatever herbs you’d like) to taste.  Stir and heat through, adding pasta water if it’s too dry (You honestly shouldn’t need to add more than a cup/a cup and a half of liquid)

TURN OFF THE HEAT.  Then add your beaten eggs to the pan and stir it in.  The residual heat from the pan and pasta will cook the eggs until you have a lovely gooey sauce.  But you know what?  If you have too much heat and the eggs scramble, it’s totally cool.  It is breakfast, after all.

Scoop this lovely mixture out into bowls or plates and top with cheese.

Enjoy! (Though perhaps pair it with a nice salad; this is an AWFULLY rich meal.)

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