How to Make Perfect Carbonara Every Time
Step 1: Abandoned doubt and fight your instincts
It has bacon, it has eggs, it has cheese, it has carbs. Why isn’t spaghetti carbonara the most popular breakfast food ever? I have no good answers for you. The best I can figure is that people think the required creamy slick of tempered eggs coating each string of pasta is a fancy product of restaurant sorcery that's nearly impossible to get right at home. The truth, dear reader, is that it isn’t. In fact, making carbonara is almost too simple, which will make you angry that you’ve spent so many mornings eating Raisin Bran instead.
What has been keeping you from spaghetti carbonirvana is a lack of technique, which is the single most important factor for success. It's also something that cookbooks most always neglect in favor of standardized terminology. Carbonara is a dance, a suspension of disbelief. You need to possess a willingness to abandoned doubt, fight your instincts, and trust that you will be rewarded.
Find a recipe and gather the ingredients. Then ignore all the directions and follow these instead:
First, you’ll need to find a large skillet or pan that will fit all the dried pasta. If you can’t lay the spaghetti flat across the bottom, then use rigatoni or another loose pasta. Sprinkle with salt, cover with 4” of coldwater, cover, and put on high heat. Yes, this goes against everything you’ve been taught. Just do it.
While that’s going, cook your chopped-up bacon in a small skillet and, when it’s about halfway done, throw in some chopped onion. Keep cooking until they’re golden and the bacon is crisp, then set aside. No need to drain or anything.
In the biggest bowl you have, whip up your eggs until solidly yellow, then add the cheese.
When the pasta water comes to a boil, break out the tongs. Use it to stir the pasta around to make sure it’s not sticking. Then, when it’s al dente, start pulling tong-fulls out and and throw them directly into the bowl with the egg/cheese mixture. DO NOT DRAIN! You want all that extra pasta water to temper the eggs and transform it into a sauce. Throw in some pasta, toss, throw in more pasta, toss again, and just keep going until it’s all in. You’re not going to throw it back into a pan—the eggs are fully cooked thanks to the heat of the pasta. SURPRISE!
Throw the bacon and onions in, keep tossing, then plate with some more cheese. All done. Easy peasy, right?