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Impress your Valentine.  This is one of the most comforting dishes we know, AND it’s made with only 6 ingredients (if you don’t count the salt, pepper, and parsley garnish).  At least half of the ingredients are likely things you already have in your cupboard or fridge, like eggs, garlic, and olive oil.

Traditional spaghetti carbonara is made with pancetta and heavy on the fresh-cracked black pepper, so we make ours with Applewood Smoked Pepper Coated Bacon, which covers all the bases and adds some extra smokiness to the dish.  We also like to swap out plain parmesan cheese for the Merlot Bellavitano from our Wisconsin neighbors at Sartori.

Spaghetti Carbonara made with Applewood Smoked Pepper-Coated Bacon

Spaghetti Carbonara made with Applewood Smoked Pepper-Coated Bacon

This recipe serves 2-3.

Peppered Bacon Spaghetti Carbonara

1/2 lb. Spaghetti (dry pasta)
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 oz. Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Pepper-Coated Bacon, sliced into bite-sized strips
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, diced
1 Large Egg
1/2 C. Sartori Merlot Bellavitano Cheese
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Fresh Parsley, chopped for garnish

Preparation: In order for the raw egg to be cooked by the hot noodles in any carbonara recipe, you need to have the sauce ready for the hot pasta, so have this step going at the same time that you are boiling your noodles:  Add your olive oil to a large sauté pan and warm it over medium heat.  Add the bacon pieces to the heated oil and cook until the bacon is beginning to crisp.  Add the garlic to the bacon and oil and scrape the fond from the bottom of the pan and into the mixture.  Toss the mixture together for a bit and let the garlic soften.  This will take only about a minute.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and have your pasta cooking while you are making the sauce (above).  Salt the water as you like.  Add the dry spaghetti and cook until al dente.  Set aside some of the pasta cooking water to add moisture to the final product.  We suggest saving at least a 1/4 cup.

Drain your cooked spaghetti and add it to the sauce pan while still very hot.  Toss the bacon mixture and noodles together until the pasta is well covered with the flavorful oil.  Quickly beat the eggs and cheese together in a medium mixing bowl until any clumps of grated cheese are broken up.  Remove pan of hot pasta from burner and pour the egg mixture over the noodles, whisking as you go.  Toss the pasta with the egg mixture and add any set-aside pasta water if you desire a more silky sauce.

Add freshly-ground pepper and salt, to taste.  Serve hot and sprinkled with parsley.