This weekend I cooked the biggest dinner I have ever cooked in my life. It felt like I was on one of those stressful-looking cooking shows where the host is British and there are flames everywhere. I was sweating and running around and stirring pots like stirring was going out of style! It was a little nerve wracking (but also exciting!) thinking about cooking for 23 people. I felt better when I decided to go with one of my most favorite recipes ever — my friend Roy’s carbonara — because I’ve made it at least a dozen times and it always tastes amazing.
It turns out that making carbonara for 23 is a bit trickier than making it for 2. Making sure an entire vat of spaghetti is evenly coated with egg, cheese and bacon is tough! The key is to split up the boiled pasta into smaller bowls for easier mixing and having a few people help you mix everything together while the noodles are still hot. (Thanks Alan and Elijah!) All the sweat and craziness was worth it though, because everyone seemed to really like it. And now I have an all-new appreciation for those stressed out looking people on those zany cooking shows.
Here’s the recipe with a few of my own tweaks, or you can see how Roy makes it in this fun video he made here.
A spot of heavy whipping cream
A touch of Italian parsley (optional)
6 cloves of garlic
8 strips of bacon
A few big handfuls of baby spinach leaves
3/4 lb. of spaghetti
7 handfuls of shredded parmesan (though it should be noted that my hands are on the smaller side…)
Chop Italian parsley finely and set aside. Chop bacon and set aside. Use a garlic press to crush garlic and set aside. Place parmesan in a separate bowl. Cook the bacon until crispy, place cooked bacon on a paper toweled plate. Reserve about a quarter of the bacon fat in the pan and saute garlic and bacon for a few minutes being careful not to burn the garlic. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and pour over parmesan cheese. Add a spot of cream and a dash of salt. Mix well. Boil spaghetti and drain well. Place the bacon and garlic mixture in the pot and add the hot pasta back in. Add salt and pepper and mix together. Stir in cheese mixture (make sure the hot pot is off the heat or else you’ll end up with scrambled egg pasta) and spinach. Spinach will wilt from the heat of the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and more parmesan.
p.s. another pasta dish Roy made me that was just as ridiculously good.