Because Everything’s Better with Bacon – Spaghetti alla Carbonara Florentine
Every now and then the name of a food intrigues me. Such is the case with spaghetti carbonara. Turns our that carbonara is a Roman term. It’s meant to denote a sauce of eggs, cheese and bacon. Beyond those three components, carbonara can be paired with any pasta although spaghetti is the most common. So if you’re a rigatoni fan, knock yourself out. It’s still carbonara regardless of the type of noodle you pair with it.
Spaghetti carbonara is another of the foods that I remember fondly from my childhood. My mother didn’t make it often that I recall, but it was always a favorite of mine. Perhaps it’s the parmesan cheese. Perhaps it’s the bacon. Perhaps it’s genetic because if I add bacon to just about anything it’s bound to be on the list of the weeone’s favorite foods. My child definitely digs the pig.
Spaghetti carbonara isn’t something you generally reach for if you are watching your waistline. However, with a few simple changes you can rectify that. Reducing the amount of cheese used and switching to egg whites rather than yolks or whole eggs will help reduce the fat and calories. I went a bit off the traditional path by adding the spinach, but it adds a bit of bulk, color and a nice flavor and helps your pasta go a bit further in servings. Of course, I believe you could add spinach to just about anything and then call it healthy, right? I mean, it has spinach in it!
Another modification would be to use Canadian or turkey bacon in replace of the pork. I wasn’t willing to go to that extreme for this incarnation, but it’s a twist I’ll try the next time I make this.
This is such a quick meal. It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish and yet, it’s a dish that you could serve even if company’s-a-comin’. Paired with a nice wine, a simple salad and good friends and you’re on the right track. Cheers!
- Serves: 4
- Serving size: 1⅓ cup
- Calories: 388
- Fat: 11.0g
- Saturated fat: 4.4g
- Unsaturated fat: 4.9g
- Carbohydrates: 45.1g
- Sugar: 1.4g
- Sodium: 592.4mg
- Fiber: 6.4g
- Protein: 25.6g
- Cholesterol: 71.4mg
- 8 oz baby spinach, washed and drained
- 8 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 cup diced white onion
- ¼ cup white wine (dry is best, but cook with what you like to drink)
- 8 oz spaghetti (whole wheat is my favorite)
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg white
- 1 large egg (1/2 cup egg beaters can be used in place of both egg products)
- 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat cook the spinach until just wilted. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- Cook the chopped bacon until done and crisp (5-7 minutes). Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and add the chopped onion to the pan, cooking until the onion is tender and translucent.
- Add the wine to the onion and cook until the liquid is reduced by about one half. Once complete set aside until the pasta is cooked.
- Prepare the spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain, saving about 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the wine and onions and then combine with the spinach.
- In a bowl mix the parmesan cheese, black pepper and eggs. Pour it over the pasta combination and coat the pasta with the sauce. Cook over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes.
- Sprinkle each serving with a tablespoon of parsley and serve immediately.