BAKED PASTA CARBONARA
Reprinted with permission from Chicken and Egg: A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes by Janice Cole (Chronicle Books LLC, 2011) Copyright © 2011 by Janice Cole.
This version of the Italian Roman classic – pasta with bacon, eggs, and cheese – is a homey rendition, similar to American macaroni and cheese. It's easy to make but totally decadent.
8 ounces farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (13 ounces)
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 6-cup glass or ceramic baking dish or coat with nonstick cooking spray. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain the pasta. Transfer to a large bowl.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and cook the pancetta for 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. The pancetta will begin to render its fat and the pieces will begin to separate instead of clumping together. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the pancetta mixture, Gruyère cheese, and parsley.
Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta in the bowl and stir until all of the noodles are coated with the sauce. Transfer to the baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and slightly puffed but creamy. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.