Saturday, September 7, 2013

Late-Night Pasta

This is my favorite pasta dish ever. Think of it as a poor man's / lazy man's carbonara with a fried egg on top. It is delicious, and contains no measurements. If every a dish was bulletproof, it's this one. We had it tonight and both kids (normally skeptical of long noodles) cleaned their plates.

I'll admit that tonight's version wasn't particularly bulletproof, because I'm learning to make noodles and I had to scrap the batch and re-roll them all. Major pain. But don't worry about fresh noodles, just make this with whatever you have in the pantry. The entire point of this dish is that you can throw together an intensely satisfying comfort food in ten minutes. This started out as a Tracey Adaption of a Martha Stewart recipe, but believe me when I say that this is not a recipe that requires Martha-level precision.

I've included some basic measurements, just so the recipe won't be intimidating the first time you make it. Don't feel obliged to follow these numbers; I usually tweak this depending on how much of each ingredient I have. The only thing that could be intimidating about this recipe is the juggling: you'll have three active dishes on your cooktop: the nonstick where you're frying an egg, the stock pot where you're cooking the noodles, and the skillet where you're making the sauce and assembling the pasta.  I know the three dishes (and 11 steps) sounds like a lot, but trust me when I tell you this dish comes together quickly and easily and will absolutely satisfy whatever late-night craving you bring to the table.


  • One box of long noodles (Spaghetti is standard, linguine is our go-to dried pasta, and tonight I made fresh fettuccine.  Do whatever you want).
  • Salt (for pasta water and for eggs).
  • Bacon, cut into 3/4" pieces (3-4 long slices is plenty, add more or less as you see fit).
  • 1 onion, chopped (I love onions, feel free to use less if you like).
  • 1 large spoonful of minced garlic.
  • Butter (for sauce and for fried egg)
  • 1/2 cup (or more) of refrigerated Parmesan cheese
  • Eggs (1 or 2 per person).
  1. Add water to large pot and start boiling.
  2. Cut bacon into large skillet and begin browning.
  3. Once water is boiling, add salt and pasta.
  4. Once bacon is starting to get crisp, add chopped onion.
  5. Once onion gets tender, add minced garlic
  6. Fry an egg or two. No need to get fancy here: throw some butter in a non-stick pan and crack in an egg. Let it cook until it's done. If you like Over Easy or Sunny Side Up, go for it. I just go for a basic fried egg.
  7. By this time, the pasta should be close to done.  Take half a cup (or a large ladle, or whatever) of the pasta water and add it to the skillet. Stir as needed to get everything loose from the bottom of the pan.
  8. Once pasta is done, move it over to the skillet. You can drain with a colander first, but it's easier just to drain with a pasta spoon as you move it over.
  9. Add a large pat of butter (several tablespoons) to the pasta. Mix well to get butter distributed and the bacon/onion/garlic mixture coating everything.  Turn off heat.
  10. Add about a third of the cheese, then toss pasta to distribute. Repeat until you use all the cheese. Add pasta water if needed to even out the sauce.
  11. Add to plate, top with a fried egg.

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