Watching Food Network channel either makes you hungry all the time or you could actually pick up some really awesome recipes (in my case, both!). This Sweet Onion Carbonara Pasta is one of my current favorite dish to make for the gang.
Did you know the name carbonara is derived from carbonaro (charcoal burner) and that the Italian coal miners were believed to be the ones who first made the dish? Source: wikipedia
Traditionally, carbonara sauce is made with bacon, eggs and cheese. As much as I love my cheesy sauce, it could get a little heavy on the palate. The addition of lemon zest in this recipe lends a fresh burst of citrusy note to the sauce and balances the creamy taste perfectly.
I think the biggest fear of making pasta carbonara is coagulation of the egg thus resulting in a curdled sauce. The one and only trick is to keep the temperature really low when you toss the sauce into the pasta and the whole process should not take more than 1 min. If necessary, turn off the heat completely. Your pasta should taste as good as it looks!
½ pound (220 g) penne (or other shell pasta you like)
5 to 6 strips bacon – cut into small pieces
1 large yellow onion – slice thinly
1 clove garlic – minced
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
¼ cup whipping cream
½ cup parmesan cheese – preferably freshly grated
2 large eggs
Zest from ½ lemon
¼ tsp salt
Some black pepper
Serves 3 – 4
Recipe source: Food Network (slight modification)
In a skillet or pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil and cook the bacon until crispy. Drain and set aside. Leave the bacon fat in the pan.
Prepare the sauce by whisking all the carbonara sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Add in 1 tbsp salt and pour in the pasta.
Cook in rapid boiling water according to package timing. Mine said 10 mins.
While the pasta is cooking, go ahead to cook the rest of the ingredients.
Using the same pan with the bacon dripping, add in onions and cook over medium heat until golden brown and caramelized, approx. 5 – 7 mins.
Add in garlic, salt and sugar and cook for another minute. Turn off heat and wait for the pasta to be done.
When the pasta is done, turn on heat again. Drain and transfer the pasta into the pan with the onion and garlic.
Turn down the heat to low and add in the bacon and pour in all the sauce.
Toss and mix well until sauce thicken slightly and coats the pasta. It should take no more than 1 min. Any longer your sauce will end up scrambled.
Turn off heat and season with as much black pepper as you like. Garnish with chives or green onions. Serve immediately.