Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Classic Carbonara Pasta with Bacon

From Daryl / Avery: 

Hi, all. I'm at the Malice Domestic Conference in Bethesda, MD for the next few days, so I did some cooking early so I could share recipes with you. Hope you don't mind. I'll put up pictures from the conference next week. It's like old home week. Lots of my author buddies are here, including many from Mystery Lovers Kitchen.

Now, for this week's post.

Salt & Pepper, culinary books & darling kitchen gifts

Because my new protagonist, Jenna, isn't much of a cook, I'm trying to "unlearn" my own cooking style and go strictly by the book. No guessing. No estimating. Read those instructions and cook!

And guess what? The recipes usually work! How about that?

I found a super simple recipe in a book that my cookbook maven Christine from SALT AND PEPPER BOOKS, in Occoquan, Virginia introduced me to for SIMPLE, EASY RECIPES.  {PS  I'm going to be at Salt and Pepper Books tomorrow along with Krista, Peg, Lucy/Roberta, Mary Jane (Victoria Albert), and Jennifer Stanley. Stop in if you can!}

Anyway, the book...

It's called: How to Cook Everything, the basics: All You Need to Make Great Food by Mark Bittman. Don't you love how long cookbook titles can be? [Not!] But as Jenna's aunt says, a title like How To Cook doesn't quite narrow it down, does it?

Inside this fabulously dense cookbook, I found a super simple recipe for pasta, eggs, and cheese.  Take it one step further and add bacon, and you have pasta carbonara.

Note: This cookbook is so good for the beginner, I bought a copy of it for my daughter-in-law who was afraid to boil water until she received this gift. She's not any longer. Yay! 

Pasta with Eggs and Cheese and Bacon
A Classic Carbonara
Recipe borrowed from 
How to Cook Everything, the basics: All You Need to Make Great Food 
by Mark Bittman

(I tweaked this recipe and made it gluten-free and it was fabulous!)

20-30 minutes to prepare
Makes 4 servings:


3 eggs
½ cup fresh grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (I used San Joaquin Gold from Fiscalini Farmstead) A cow’s milk cheese with wonderful nutty flavor and crunchy crystals
1 pound linguine or spaghetti
2-4 slices of bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper


Cook the bacon crisply, crumble, and set aside.

Grate the cheese and set aside.

Bring a stockpot of water to a boil and add salt, about a teaspoon.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200 degrees and put in an ovenproof bowl for about 5 minutes. When you remove, be sure you are wearing a mitt. 

Crack the eggs into he bowl and stir briskly with a fork or whisk. Add the cheese and stir a little more.

When the water boils, cook the pasta until it is tender but not mushy, about 3-5 minutes (read the product label – gluten-free pasta takes longer!).  When it’s done, scoop out some of the cooking water, about a cup, and reserve. Then drain the pasta.

Immediately toss the pasta with the eggs and cheese. If it’s too dry (not likely), add a little of the pasta cooking water to the mix. [I didn’t have to.]

Add the crumpled bacon, a little more salt, and cracked pepper.

Serve immediately (maybe with a light green salad). Enjoy!!


* * * * * * *
Daryl Wood Gerber also writes as Avery Aames, 
author of the Agatha Award-winning,
nationally bestselling CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY SERIES 

The 1st in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series is coming July 2013!!
You can pre-order the book HERE.

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is out
You can order the book HERE. 

You can learn more about me, Daryl by clicking this LINK. "Like" my page on Facebook and "follow" me on TwitterAnd if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! Also, you probably know by now about my alter ego, Avery Aames. Chat with Avery on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. I love Mark Bittman and I love spaghetti carbonara, so here's a perfect post. What a wonderful gift for your daughter-in-law too...

    Can't wait to see you all at Salt and Pepper and Malice!

    1. Lucy, can't wait to see you, too!


      Daryl / Avery

  2. This is a nifty recipe! I am going to try it as the method's more interesting than the one I have used. It looks like it would be wonderful and creamy. I have Bittman's Kitchen Express and find it very useful. You have now given me an idea for a Christmas gift too.

    Thanks, Daryl!

    See you at Salt and Pepper and then Malice. Whee!

    1. Mary Jane, love to give ideas for Christmas in April! LOL

      Hugs and can't wait to see you.

      Daryl / Avery

  3. A wonderful classic recipe, and a big thumbs-up on your cookbook suggestion as well as its author. When Mark Bittman was on staff at the NY Times, his "Minimalist" handle wonderfully conveyed his philosophy on the simplicity of cooking (easy recipes with less steps to encourage people to get into the kitchen). Good stuff. Have a wonderful time at Malice.

    I'm looking forward to your pictures!
    ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks, Cleo. I love that Bittman considered himself a minimalist. Definitely. But delish and easy.

      Daryl / Avery

  4. Pasta carbonara is a glorious classic. The story I heard was that the basic ingredients were readily available to people working out in the "sticks" (shepherds, coal miners, etc). Pasta and hard cheese travel and keep well, chickens (eggs) are often around, and salted bacon (not the stuff from our grocery stores) keeps well. Perhaps a touch of olive oil, and you have a fine meal.
    Still do.

    1. Libby, that totally makes sense. :) Cheese does travel well. So yummy.

      Daryl / Avery

  5. I found this post while looking for easy-to-do recipes for our anniversary. I would love to try this! I see myself in your daughter-in-law. I hope I can overcome my fear in anything boiling and frying. I'd like to make myself useful in the kitchen and make my husband proud! Good luck to me! :)

  6. This is the best photo of this dish I've ever seen. Wow. it is just "jaw-droppingly" beautiful! I love how authentic this recipe is. I'm bookmarking this recipe.
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