Sunday, February 12, 2017

Spaghetti alla Carbonara from our guest, Leslie Karst. #recipe #mystery #giveaway

It's our pleasure to welcome our friend, the dynamic Leslie Karst, as our special guest here today.

Leslie has a wonderful recipe for Spaghetti alla Carbonara which we can't wait to try and a fabulous giveaway.  Make sure you read to the end and leave a comment to get in on the giveaway action. 

Now here's Leslie on the background to this delicious dish.

One of my sleuth Sally Solari’s favorite dishes to whip up for company is spaghetti alla carbonara. Not only is it about as simple as it gets to make—thus allowing Sally the luxury of enjoying pre-dinner cocktails along with her guests—but the combination of bacon, olive oil, butter, cheese, and eggs makes this pasta sinfully rich and delicious.

The origin of this dish’s name is hotly disputed, but most folks agree that it likely has something to do with the Italian word carbone (charcoal). Some claim the dish was invented by coalminers; others argue it was originally cooked over a charcoal flame; and still others assert that the name derives from a kind of charcoal-cooked ham that was once used for the pasta.

Whatever its history, this rich, creamy dish from Rome makes for a delicious and quick-to-prepare meal. Serve it with a green salad or fagiolini al burro (baby green beans sautéed in butter), and a loaf of warm, crusty bread. (Don’t be alarmed by the use of raw egg; the hot pasta heats it enough to cook, and the result is a silky, custardy sauce.)

Here’s a sneak-preview of the recipe from my brand new Sally Solari mystery, A Measure of Murder:

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
(serves 4-6)


1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ pound pancetta or bacon, cut crossways into ½” strips
4 eggs
½ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
1 tablespoon chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley [I used green onions for the meal photographed]
salt and freshly-ground black pepper


Bring a large (at least 4 quart) pot of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and 1 tablespoon salt, and cook over high heat until al dente (still slightly firm in the center, 8-10 minutes), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the butter and oil in a heavy skillet. Add the bacon and fry over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown. (This can be done in advance, but reheat before service if the oil and butter have hardened.)

In a serving bowl large enough to hold the pasta, beat the eggs with the grated cheese.

Drain the cooked pasta and immediately dump it—without rinsing—into the serving bowl. Toss until the pasta is coated with the egg and cheese mixture. (I used whole wheat spaghetti, hence the darker color.)

Add the pancetta or bacon (along with all the butter and oil), and toss again.

Serve garnished with the parsley and freshly ground pepper. (See the  photo at top of post.)

Now here's a bit about the very tasty Sally Solari culinary mysteries series:

A MEASURE OF MURDER, book two in the Sally Solari culinary mystery series, was just released on February 7, 2017 (Crooked Lane Books). It's still warm to the touch!

Sally Solari is busy juggling work at her family’s Italian restaurant, Solari’s, and helping plan the autumn menu for the restaurant she’s just inherited, Gauguin. Complicating this already hectic schedule, she joins her ex-boyfriend Eric’s chorus, which is performing a newly discovered version of her favorite composition: the Mozart Requiem. But then, at the first rehearsal, a tenor falls to his death on the church courtyard—and his soprano girlfriend is sure it wasn’t an accident.

Now Sally's back on another murder case mixed in with a dash of revenge, a pinch of peril, and a suspicious stack of sheet music. And while tensions in the chorus heat up, so does the kitchen at Gauguin, set aflame right as Sally starts getting too close to the truth. Can Sally catch the killer before she’s burnt to a crisp, or will the case grow as cold as yesterday’s leftovers?

“Engaging characters, terrific writing, and a savory blend of musical and culinary erudition...polymath Karst sauces her plot without masking its flavor. And she’s a dab hand with the red herrings.” Publishers Weekly starred review

We're intrigued!  Now just who is Leslie Karst? 

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. She now writes the Sally Solari Mysteries (Dying for a Taste, A Measure of Murder), a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. An ex-lawyer like her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i. Visit her online at and at

As well as a hardcover copy of A MEASURE FOR MURDER, Leslie is offering this great Sally Solari swag! 

Leave a comment and don't forget your email addy and you could be the lucky winner.  The winner will be announced on the sidebar later this week!


  1. Delicious pasta recipe; fabulous-sounding book; and thank you for hosting this generous giveaway!

  2. I'm new on this blog and made the creamy corn chowder recipe last week. I cannot wait to try this pasta recipe, it sounds wonderful! I will wait because it is 1:30 AM and it wouldn't be good to start right now making it. Look forward to your mystery series too! Thanks for the opportunity

    1. I think it would make for a great midnight (or 1:30 a.m.) snack, actually!

  3. Terrific giveaway, who doesn't like pasta, and with bacon, yum! And with a sleuth named Sally this is a must-read!

  4. I have done pasta with eggs before myself with prosciutto and it is a yummy combination. Thanks for the chance :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  5. Yummy recipe. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book. Sounds great.

  6. I'm glad to find a new culinary series. suefoster109 at

  7. This look great! I've never added the cheese into the eggs. That's something I need to try.

  8. Yummy recipe which I will be preparing this week. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  9. Welcome, Leslie! Great dish--it's a staple at our house. Even my husband makes it. And your series sounds delicious too.

  10. Love this recipe; Leslie's book looks enticing!

  11. The recipe would be a winner for the family. What a great feature and giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. My mom made a similar dish for our family when we were kids and it was always a big hit. And if you make the full recipe, it serves 6, easily.

  12. The recipe sounds great! Thank you for the chance to win the book, it sounds great too! Dnrocker at yahoo dot com

  13. I'm going to save the recipe to my Pinterest page and play with it when I have time. I have to figure out what I can replace the cheese with or else find a soy based bacon substitute for the bacon. Yes please I'd love to be entered in the giveaway and add this great book to my home library.

  14. What a delightful recipe! And I'd love to win this book (and swag) giveaway.

  15. Thanks for the recipe - love Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

  16. Love this recipe!

  17. I'm always ready for a new cozy mystery!! Thanks for offering this giveaway!

  18. This is an entertaining book. I enjoyed reading it.

    A question on the recipe--
    In the book you list 1 tablespoon of salt in the ingredients.
    But here you say salt and pepper with no specific amount.
    Why the difference?

    1. The 1 tablespoon salt in the book is to be added to the pasta water (Sorry that I neglected to include that in the ingredients list here!--Good eye, Libby!). The S&P at the end are to season the finished dish, to taste.

    2. I seem to be the unofficial "eyes" here!
      This makes perfect sense. Thanks

  19. I love Italian food so I'll have to try this recipe. Would it be possible to lighten it up a bit by draining off the bacon grease?
    Thanks for the contest.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. (Only deleted because I wanted to revise it.) If you don't want the bacon fat, then cook the bacon first, drain off the fat, and then melt the butter with the cooked bacon. And you might want to drizzle some milk or cream on the dish at the end, so it doesn't end up too dry from the lack of bacon fat.

  20. Terrific plot and terrific recipe! Can't wait to read and to make recipe. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net