Yesterday was not a good day for me. A lot of things went wrong, a lot of things were stressful, and a lot of things were not happy. So I did two things guaranteed to cheer me up after work: I played with my friend Cait’s new puppy, and I made comfort food.
LOOK HOW CUTE AND LITTLE HE IS KSHJFSKDJFSD.
Seriously, if you cannot be cheered up by a puppy, even a puppy who hates selfies, then you have no soul.
I have lots of soul because LOOK AT HIM LOOKING AT HIS REFLECTION.
Anyway, then I came home and made one of my favorite, totally unhealthy, totally delicious, totally soul-lifting, totally takes-less-than-30-minutes dinners: spaghetti carbonara. My dad taught me how to make this a few years ago, and while it’s got a bit of my own spin on it, it’s legit: no cream. Do you hear me, horrible “Italian” chain restaurants of the world? Spaghetti carbonara does not have cream in it. Instead, let me extol its true virtues for you:
- It is basically breakfast for dinner with pasta instead of toast.
- It requires only 10 minutes of active work and is so easy even all of you who claim you can’t cook could make it.
- Cheese (thanks Torie) and pancetta!!
- Since the “sauce” is naturally gluten free, no adaptation is necessary other than using GF pasta, and thus it can be made easily with regular pasta if you’re not GF.
- Despite not really having vegetables it’s got lots of protein, so, health.
(serves one very hungry person or two more normal people with a side salad, but can be easily doubled/quadrupled/etc.)
4 oz gluten-free (or regular) spaghetti (I used Andean Dream quinoa/rice pasta, which is just okay)
1.5 oz pancetta, diced small (I buy the pre-cubed kind sold at Trader Joe’s and many other grocery stores–this is about 1/3 the package)
2 medium shallots, diced
2 garlic gloves, minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
Boil water for pasta. When water is ready, add a lot of salt and pasta, stir until noodles are submerged, and set the timer for one minute less than the package says (should be about 12 minutes).
Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pancetta. As soon as pancetta is sizzling and has released some more fat, lower heat to medium. Add shallots and stir to combine. Cook, stirring often, until shallots and pancetta are beginning to brown. Wait another minute, then add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, beat eggs with salt and pepper in a small bowl, and set aside.
When pasta is finished (test it for doneness), turn heat off of pancetta mixture and transfer pasta to the skillet using tongs. Working quickly, pour beaten eggs on top of pasta and stir with tongs, using the heat of the food and pan to cook the eggs. Do not stop stirring and stir quickly–this will make sure the eggs coat the pasta and other ingredients as they cook, rather than turning into scrambled eggs. Once eggs are set (this should take a minute or less), add in 1/4 cup pecorino cheese and stir to combine. Transfer to bowl and top with more cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Grab some napkins and eat up!