Hi! This is the first in-depth tutorial I’ve ever made, so please bear with me. I am planning more in the future and am even considering vblogs! Maybe soon on that – I am about to make valentine’s cookies for one of my daughter’s snack day at school. Anyways, on to the show!! I had originally planned on making these for my step-son, who is currently serving in the US Army and in baracks, but I decided to share them here as well, after all, there might be more newbie chefs out there that need a little assistance!
1. Gather your ingredients! From left to right. Back: Quartered mushrooms (yellow bowl), pasta (usually I use angel hair pasta, but I had none at this time), Garlic Alfredo sauce. Middle: Pecorino block cheese, roasted garlic (fresh is fine too!) and parmesan block cheese. Front: Thick cut bacon.
Mushrooms (1/4lb or so)
Pasta – Angel hair is traditional for us, but most pasta will work.
Creamy alfredo sauce – I happen to like this particular brand and flavor.
Parmesan and Pecorino cheese – I like using it freshly grated. You can use the pre-grated stuff too!
Roasted garlic – I buy my garlic in bulk and the roast the whole heads and then freeze them. Fresh garlic can be substituted.
1lb of bacon – I use thick cut, because it holds up better to how I cook it. I will show you!
2. Take a cookie sheet/baking tray with sides and cover it so that the foil will cover the sides too.
3. Lay the bacon out flat on the baking sheet. It’s okay for them to be touching. You can season it a little at this point if you choose, but I usually don’t bother – after all, bacon is perfect the way that it is!!
4. Set your oven in 375F, side the bacon onto the rack. I like putting the rack in the middle of the oven, I find it cooks more evenly. Cook in the oven until it reaches that temperature and then watch the bacon to your doneness level. I like mine floppy, but crispy on the edges.
NOTE: Please do not pre-heat your oven to the temperature. The point of cooking the bacon this way to to prevent a lot of splatters, and to render a lot of the grease out of the bacon whilst maintaining the flavor. I have seen others do things this way, but the temperature is 400F instead. I like 375F because I find it renders out more of the grease and produces a crispier bacon.
5. Get your largest pot and fill it up 3/4 of the way with water. Add a good splash of salt to the water. This helps flavor the pasta and also helps the water boil faster. Turn up the heat for that burner to high and let it go, keeping an eye on it to boil.
6. Since roasted garlic is such a mellower flavor than fresh garlic, I used 8 cloves in this recipe. Take them out of their paper and chop them roughly. If you are using fresh garlic, three cloves are great. Squish them flat with the flat of your knife, and then chop them finely. The onion is small, which I cut in half first, then diced into small, similar sized pieces.
7. Grate the cheese on the fine side of your grater, you want the equivilent of 1/4 of a cup of both.
8. By now, your pasta water should be boiling. Grab your box of pasta and empty it into the boiling water. Don’t forget to stir it as soon as your are done emptying the box. This is so the pasta doesn’t stick together. If you are using angel hair pasta, stay in front of the stove as this pasta cooks very quickly, and you have to keep your eye on it. It is done when its is all floppy and when you bite into a piece of it, there is no crunchiness.
NOTE: Just as a side point, and something rarely though of. If you place the spoon that your stirred the pasta with across the top of the pot, then it will stop the pasta water from boiling over. No really. It really does! I swear!
9. Bacon should be done by now! Check the oven to see if it’s to the doneness level you like. To get my bacon looking like this, it took about 20 minutes, starting from a stone cold oven. Using a pair of tongs, or a fork, take it off the baking tray and let it drain on paper towel covered plate until cool enough to touch. When it is cool, roughly chop it all. Don’t eat too much of it Reserve some of the bacon grease to use later!
10. Put the reserved bacon grease into a heavy frying pan and turn it on medium hot. When it feels like its ready – you do this by holding your hand about 1.5 inches above the bottom of the pot. If it feels hot, then put in the mushrooms. Stir them around for a bit, you want them to brown up a bit and cook through. When they are done, they will look similar to those all the way of the right. Take them out of the frying pan and set aside for now.
11. Your pasta is probably getting close to being done now. So go over to the stove and use the spoon to get out one piece of pasta. Chew it up a bit, to check its consistency – I like my pasta to be a little under done for this recipe, as it will be going into hot sauce and I don’t want it over cooking the pasta and turning to mush. *shudders* Make sure to immediately rinse your pasta under cold water so it stops the cooking process.
12. Now the mushrooms are out, put the diced mushrooms into the bacon grease and cook them until translucent and starting to turn a little bit brown. This will take around 5 minutes. Once that is done, add the garlic. If you are using fresh garlic, let it cook together with the onion for 2 minutes, stirring all the while to make sure it doesn’t burn. When that time is up. Add the bacon and stir it around together.
13. Almost done now!! Add the sauce to the frying pan. Next add the pasta and stir it all together. Next up, add salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add some parsley, mostly for show admittedly!
14. Add the cheese and stir. Let it cook for a moment so the cheese melts and thickens the sauce.
Then, voila!! Easy Bacon Carbonara! Serve it with some white wine and with garlic bread if you like. You will see that the sauce is not soupy and thickly covers the pasta. If you want it a little more wet, you can add milk to the sauce before adding the pasta until it is your desired consistency. I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think!