Friday, February 3, 2012
Breakfast for Dinner: Pasta with Eggs and Bacon
This kind of came together on the fly when I was once again trying to clean out the refrigerator. I find myself doing that a lot lately and I actually find a great pleasure in using up all the odds and ends we have leftover. There is nothing more aggravating to me than having leftovers, ingredients, or even condiments sitting in my refrigerator for long periods of time.
Anyway, this came together because I had a ton of eggs waiting to be consumed, as well a a good portion of bacon leftover from this weekend. Brinner anyone? (If you get the reference kudos to you.)
While I am going to write that you pepper this dish to taste, I recommend that you add a little more than you are used to for your pasta dishes. Bumping up the pepper with the Parmesan cheese is a good idea, especially because the egg will enhance these two flavors.
Speaking of flavor, do not clean the pan after you cook the bacon. There should be a little bit of fond (dark brown stuff) left on the bottom of the pan. That is home to some serious flavor, so we will deglaze the pan with the butter and water to get this in our sauce. Also, I don't think you need to add salt to this once it is done. If you use well salted water to deglaze the pan, you shouldn't need any more to finish the dish. Well salted water for me is 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt per quart, or 1/2 tablespoon table salt quart.
Lastly, when I say toss your pasta, this does not mean the same thing as mix the pasta. Tossing involves taking the pasta from the bottom with a spoon, chopstick, or what-have-you and pulling it up to the top and then dropping that on top. Mixing is swirling it around in circles with some type of implement. Do not mix, this ruins some of the finer properties of the gluten in your pasta and it also wont distribute the cheese evenly.
Pasta with Eggs and Bacon:
1 pound thin pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, angel hair etc.)
1/2 to 3/4 pounds bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 cup grated Parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano) cheese, plus more for finishing
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
Salt for boiling
1. Get a large pot of salted boiling water going while you prepare the rest of the dish.
2. While the water comes up to temperature, fry the bacon in a large pan until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and pour off all the grease from the pan, but do not clean the pan.
3. Cook the pasta according to the directions and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
4. Drain the pasta. Add the butter, water, and pepper to the pan that you cooked the bacon in and bring to a boil while scraping up the brown stuff on the bottom.
5. While the sauce is coming together cook the four eggs individually to your liking. (I poached them here but frying works just as well.)
6. Return the pasta to the pot you cooked it in over medium low heat. Add the sauce in the pan, 1/3 cup of cheese, and all of the bacon. Toss the pasta and then add the rest of the cheese in 1/3 cup increments until it is all added, tossing after each addition.
7. Plate four servings of the pasta and top each with an egg, then finish with pepper and more cheese, to taste.