As a child, in the South of France, I had a favorite restaurant. The restaurant was Le Vesuvio and to my surprise and amazement it's still around today. I don't much remember much - it was small, to my recollection, and dimly lit. Located on the tony Croissette in Cannes, Le Vesuvio served up the most wonderful pizzas, but it was their Spaghetti Carbonara that forever stole my heart. It's not something we ate often. But it was one of those meals that was a feast for the senses, decadent and rich, it was as much fun to watch the waiters with their presentation as it was to eat. A large family style bowl would be brought to our table, and upon its arrival the waiter would crack an egg over the top and then promptly mix it in to the piping hot spaghetti thus cooking it on the spot. The presentation was fun if not slightly magical, and I wonder if that was the real reason I adored the dish so. I had not eaten this since my youth until I spied a recipe for it in the New York Times. I had always thought this to be a "forbidden" dish, heavy, rich and decadent like carbonara, and while it is indeed rich, it is a lot less calorie-laden than I expected it to be. And so I decided to give it a try. It was simple to make - In fact it couldn't have been any more simple, which makes it a perfect weeknight meal served with petite pois or a light, green salad.
The recipe below is adapted from The New York Times.
- 2 large eggs and 2 large yolks, room temperature
- 1 ounce (about 1/3 packed cup) grated pecorino Romano, plus additional for serving
- 1 ounce (about 1/3 packed cup) grated Parmesan
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- 6 slices of bacon, already cooked, and crumbled into small pieces. (Traditional recipe calls for Pancetta.)
- 1 box of spaghetti or linguine
- Place a large pot of lightly salted water (no more than 1 tablespoon salt) over high heat, and bring to a boil.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and pecorino and Parmesan. Season with a pinch of salt and a generous amount black pepper.
- Set the water to boil.
- Add pasta to the water and boil until a bit firmer than al dente, per directions on package.
- Meanwhile cook the bacon (The fastest and easiest is in the microwave, about 1 minute per slice. Arrange bacon on a plate with several paper towels underneath the bacon to soak up excess grease.)
- When pasta is done drain all but 2-3 tbs of the pasta water and return pasta to the hot pan. Stir in cheese mixture and crumbled bacon.