Kitchen Adventures: Pasta and bacon combine for great Italian meal

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

Somewhere in my heritage there must be an Italian because I could eat my weight in Italian food. Pasta is one of my particular favorites.

Many of my adventures in the kitchen venture to the culinary wonders of Italy, accompanied by the dulcet tones of Dean Martin playing in the background.

Along with a great taste, pasta dishes often are quick to make. And, if you have a large party for dinner, it’s easy to make for the masses.

I ran across a recipe for Creamy Bacon Carbonara from a website with a name that made me giggle, www.justgetoffyourbuttandbake.com.  

Carbonara is an Italian sauce based on eggs, cheese and bacon. That’s right, bacon. I’m not sure why but bacon can make any dish taste better.

Learning a lesson from a previous food column dish, I read through the entire recipe carefully before beginning. Because I like a lot of sauce on pasta I took the blogger’s note to heart and doubled the recipe for the sauce.

The sauce is a cheesy cream sauce and the red pepper flakes add a slight kick.

Also, pay attention to the blogger’s note about over cooking the sauce. Because eggs are a part of the base, if you cook it too long or at too high a heat the eggs in the mixture will begin to thicken and resemble scrambled eggs. A scrambled egg sauce is not as pleasing as a creamy cheese sauce.

I also have a tendency to use whole wheat pasta. In my head it makes me feel like I’m eating healthier.

For this dish I used thin whole wheat spaghetti. Carbonara traditionally is served with spaghetti but other kinds of pastas can be used.

The best thing about a pasta dish is it is easy to share. For this adventure my mother was able to come over and share dinner with me. We are both fans of pasta and both enjoy creating yummy food to share over good conversation.

The pasta was paired with a cherry tomato caprese salad. The caprese salad included sliced red and yellow cherry tomatoes, basil and cheese tossed in balsamic vinegar. Because pasta in cream sauce can be a heavy meal, a light caprese salad is a perfect side dish.

Some toasted bread with Italian spices rounds out any Italian meal.


Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Creamy Bacon Carbonara
2 eggs
1/4 cup cream or heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup Parmesan
Fresh diced parsley or dried flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. bacon fried crisp then crumbled
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
3 mushrooms sliced (optional)
1/2 pound pasta

Beat the eggs, cream, Parmesan, parsley, salt and red pepper flakes together in a bowl using a fork. (Blogger doubled the sauce recipe for her dish.)

Fry the bacon until crisp, then crumble and set aside.

With 1 -2 tablespoons bacon grease, sauté the onion and the mushrooms until the onions are translucent and golden.

Drain the pasta and while still warm, add to the onions and mushrooms. Pour cream mixture into the pasta, and stir over low heat for one to two minutes.

Crumble the crisp bacon over the top & serve with additional Parmesan.

Recipe notes from blogger: Saved a bit of the pasta water, just in case the sauce get thicker than you liked. If you're concerned about tempering the eggs, save 2 to 3 tablespoons of the hot pasta water. Slowly whisk it one tablespoon at a time, into the egg, cream, parmesan mixture and whisk continuously. Add the hot pasta water very slowly, so that you don't cook the eggs, until incorporated fully, then add the drained pasta to the mixture.  

Recipe from www.justgetoffyourbuttandbake.com