Thursday, February 11, 2010

Penne Carbonara

I am at a dinner, ravenous, yet picking at my food. Because it is all oriental food. Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE oriental food. It is just that this is one of those days when I am craving some pasta.

No worries, I tell myself. I will go home and fix myself some pasta. Penne carbonara. Quick to put together and very very satisfying.

I can almost hear the sizzle of bacon getting browned in the pan and can smell the finely minced cloves of garlic getting sauteed in the pan along with some finely minced onions. I see myself tossing the cooked pasta in the pan, I can almost feel my arms getting leaden from stirring the cream briskly into the pasta. That is it. Ready, in just around 15-20 mins.

I can feel the burst of flavours in on my tongue - the smoky flavour of bacon, the delightful pungency of the garlic and the silky texture of the cream sauce.

However, all of a sudden, I hear a "plop" and feel something wet on around my knee. And the husband saying "Watch how you eat! How can you be so clumsy?" Ah well, I was so lost in my culinary reverie that the noodles I was eating slipped out my chopsticks and promptly landed on my knee.

But then, you would be lost too - lost for words - once you've savoured the simple but highly satiating penne carbonara. Here's my way of making it.


Bacon bits: 3 tbsps (You can substitute bacon with mushrooms, they are perfect for this recipe)
Garlic: 1 large clove, finely minced
Onion: 1 small, finely chopped
Egg yolk: 2
Fresh cream: 125 ml
Parmesan cheese: 2 tbsps
Seasonings: dried basil, chilli flakes, freshly ground pepper, salt
Olive oil

Penne pasta: 3/4 cup (I actually eye-ball the pasta)


Start to cook the pasta as per package instructions. The idea is to drain your cooked pasta just as you finish sautéing the garlic and onions.
Beat the egg yolk and the cheese into the cream and add all the seasonings as per your taste.

In a pan, add a tsp of oil, toss the bacon and fry till it is evenly browned. Set aside. In the same pan, add some more oil and throw in the garlic and finely minced onion. Saute till the onions turn pink, return the bacon to the pan and stir.

Drain the cooked pasta and add it into the pan and stir so as to mix it well with the onions and bacon.

You've got to work really fast now - take the pan away from the fire, add the cream, egg yolk and cheese mixture. Return the pan to a very low flame and stir and stir as fast as you can. Work those arms!! The idea is to heat the cream through and coat the pasta evenly with the sauce without ending up with a scrambled mess! I hold my pan away from the burner every once in a while as I stir the pasta.

Sprinkle some grated cheese on top and cover for a minute so as to let all the flavours to mingle together. Then, without any ado, eat your fill. Do transfer to a serving plate before digging in!

Bacon. Cream. Cheese. Egg yolks. Yes, this one has got it all. Very bad for the arteries, however, excellent for the palate. I make this very rarely and I savour each and every mouthful!

(And so, very reluctantly,) I am sharing this with Presto Pasta Nights # 150, event started by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast, hosted this week by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook .


  1. We love pasta..but I never prepared this as I do not like using eggs in it...

  2. Such a delicious and creamy dish, my fav..

  3. This looks amazing, I'd be tempted to use both bacon AND mushrooms! Thank you for sharing :)

  4. Love the sauce, my kind of sauce to add to steamed veggies and Pasta too. Lovely.

  5. Aqua, I am so glad you decided to share this rich classic with PPN, however reluctantly. ; )

    Love that you can sub mushrooms for the bacon, perfect for cooks like me who no longer eat meat but miss its flavors at times.

    Thanks for your contribution!

  6. There, now you got me craving for pasta!!!

  7. Creamy delicious recipe!!! Love the way its come out!!! I am drooling, a Pasta fan :)

  8. Hi Aquadaze,
    first time here.. many amazing recipes.. especially baking ones..this pasta looks super yummy..

  9. Looks so rich and creamy dear, will sure try with mushrooms:)

  10. Yummyyyyyy Pasta I definitely follow your recipe.

  11. Carbonara is such a favorite; this is an excellent interpretation of the recipe. Well done. I'm going to use this the next time.

  12. I LOVE carbonara and yours looks especially creamy and delicious. Perfect to sate that carb craving!

  13. What do you mean this is bad for the arteries?? It's got to be good for you... doesn't it? It certainly sounds very good, anyway. :-)


    (I'm curious; what kind of Asian noodles were you eating as you dreamed about Carbonara sauce?)

  14. Aqua, you were craving pasta while eating noodles? You do love your carbs, don't you! I am a closet carb lover who came out on your blog. :)
    T's earlier attempts at cream sauce have been disasterous. I will point him to your recipe.

  15. hey AD,
    Glad to see such wonderful recipe from you :)everyones craving for pasta after seeing this post so add me in too ;)

  16. That looks so creamy and cheesy...Great recipe !

  17. Great recipe, thanks. One question, how many does it serve

  18. Anonymous, sorry for the delayed response, this should serve 2 adults, 3 if you are serving it with some soup or salad.

  19. Michael, I am sorry that this recipe didn't work for you, though it has worked perfectly for a couple of people who've tried it.

    I would however appreciate a more constructive feedback rather than a rude comment of the nature you left me which is why I didn't publish your comment.


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