Credit: Mario Batali
Originally from September 2014 on old blog
My sister Chelsea left for college (Elon University) a few weeks back, making me an only child for the first time in my life. For her final goodbye, I decided to cook her a dinner filled with all her favorite things: Pasta, cheese, and bacon. This dish combines all three of those things into one single bowl.
Obviously, there is no need to make the spaghetti yourself; I just enjoy making my own pasta. This dish is fairly fast and simple, and the egg on top makes it feel upscale. It makes for a fun presentation to drop down the bowls in front of each diner and tell them to pour their egg yolk (in a ramekin) on top of their steaming hot pasta and mix it in as fast as possible. Of course, it’s not a health concern because the pasta is so hot, it cooks the egg yolk, and turns it into a creamy sauce for the pasta. Top it all of with Parmesan cheese, and I can’t imagine something I’d rather eat.
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 8 ounces sliced pancetta, cut into ½-inch wide strips
- 6 large fresh eggs
- ½ cup freshly, finely grated Parmesan, for serving
- ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano (or just more Parmesan)
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 3 tablespoons of kosher salt.
Meanwhile, combine the pancetta and oil in another large pot and cook over medium-high heat until the pancetta has rendered some of its fat and is lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in some pepper and remove from the heat.
Separate the eggs, being careful to keep the yolks intact, putting the whites in a small bowl and the yolks in a shallow dish.
Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain, reserving 2/3 cup of the pasta water.
Add the reserved pasta water to the pancetta and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the egg whites and cook, whisking furiously, until they are frothy but not set, about 1 minute. Add the pasta, stirring and tossing well to coat. Stir in the cheeses.
Divide the pasta among six bowls, making a nest in the center of each portion. Gently drop an egg yolk into each nest and serve immediately, advising your guests to stir the yolk into the pasta so that it will cook. Pass the additional grated Parmesan on the side.