Pasta with Eggs and Cheese


Think of this as Italian comfort food; add bacon and you get classic carbonara.
TIME 20 to 30 minutes
MAKES 4 servings
Salt
3 eggs
½ cup freshly grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
1 pound linguine or other long pasta
Freshly ground black pepper


Method
1 Bring a stockpot of water to a boil and salt it. Heat the oven to 200°F and put a large ovenproof bowl in it for about 5 minutes. When the bowl is warm—handle it with oven mitts to avoid burning yoursel —crack the eggs on a flat surface and open them into it. Beat them with a fork or whisk until uniformly colored. Then stir in the cheese.

2 When the water boils, cook the pasta until it is tender but not mushy; start tasting after 5 minutes. When it’s done, scoop out and reserve at least 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

3 Immediately toss the pasta with the eggs in the bowl; if it’s too dry (unlikely), add a little of the pasta-cooking water. Taste and add more salt or cheese if you want, then add black pepper—I suggest a lot and serve.

Variations
  • Toss in 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas just before serving.
  • Toss ½ cup chopped ham or prosciutto with the pasta and eggs just before serving.
  • Richer Pasta with Eggs and Cheese Add up to ¼ cup cream to the eggs and cheese in Step 1.
  • Carbonara You can buy pancetta—salted, cured, and rolled pork belly at the deli counter of most supermarkets. If you can’t find it, use regular bacon. Just chop 4 ounces of meat up and cook it as described for Breakfast Meats. Toss the crisped pancetta or bacon (as well as the pan drippings if you like) with the pasta and egg mixture just before serving.

Tips
  • It sounds strange to make a sauce from raw eggs, but the warm bowl and hot pasta cook the eggs perfectly.
  • Pecorino is a sharp, salty Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk (pecora means “sheep”); use more or less depending on your taste. If you find the flavor is too strong, use Parmesan instead.
  • Long pasta is traditional with smooth sauces like this, but cut pasta is easier to toss; use whichever you like.

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