Deconstructed Kitchen: Spaghetti Carbonara

I seriously¬†love how today’s Deconstructed Kitchen post turned out, in large part because I’m a simple food kind of a girl but also because I totally appreciate recipes that my kids will actually eat (who else is with me?)! Oh, and I had a bunch of fun playing around with the layout and fonts in this post. I’m breaking out of my ‘font mold’ and trying some new ones on for size. What do ya think? Lucky for me, Bonnie made it easy with her wonderful photography (and her cutie pie boys don’t hurt a darn thing either). Enjoy!

Guest edited by Bonnie Berry

I am a huge fan of Ruth Reichl. She has been a writer, chef, The NY Times restaurant critic as well as the editor of Gourmet magazine. She has also written several memoirs, which are hilarious. So when she talks, I listen. She was on Fresh Air a couple of years ago and when she was asked for quick and easy recipes, I immediately stopped what I was doing and pulled out a pen and paper. While I like to make more intensive recipes on the weekend, on weeknights I go for quick and easy. And it is especially hard to find things the kids will tolerate, much less like. So when she said she often makes spaghetti carbonara. I almost fell off my chair. When I was a kid there was nothing I liked as much as spaghetti carbonara. It was the ultimate comfort food. But as I grew older the heaviness of the cream got to be too much. Turns out spaghetti carbonara does not even have cream in it when you eat it in its native Italy. So with bated breath I made Ruth’s dish and hoped for the best. Not only was it scrumptious, but the kids loved it as well and it was super easy and fast to make, with only five simple ingredients. It is now a family staple and we eat it once a week, only the boys call it bacon and egg pasta.


BONNIE’S SAGE ADVICE | Ms. Reichl recommends Nueske‘s brand of bacon. I have never been able to find it locally, but you can buy it through their website. I like Applegate’s Sunday bacon. And if you can get your hands on some fresh eggs from your CSA or from a local farm or farmer’s market, they really enrich the dish.



SPAGHETTI CARBONARA (aka bacon and egg pasta)

Serves 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 small kids

1 pound spaghetti

8 slices of good quality bacon

2 peeled garlic cloves (do not mince them)

2 large eggs

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese (we like to use Reggiano)

lots of black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. While waiting for it to boil, pull out a large ceramic bowl and break the two eggs in the bowl and add some black pepper and beat with a fork. Then slice your bacon into .5 inch pieces and peel your garlic (leave it whole). Next you can grate your cheese. When the water is boiling, throw the spaghetti in with some salt. Then in a skillet put in the bacon on medium heat and cook for two minutes, until the fat begins to render. Add the whole cloves of garlic and cook another 5 minutes or so, until the edges of the bacon just begin to get crisp. Do not overcook the bacon, leave it looking a little raw in the middle, but slightly browned on the edges. If it gets too crisp it will not meld with the pasta. When the bacon is done turn off the heat under it, throw away the garlic cloves and check to see if the pasta is done. Once it is ready, drain the pasta. This bit needs to go fast, so have the following ready and close by: the bowl with the eggs, the cheese and the bacon. Throw the pasta in the bowl with the beaten eggs and mix it thoroughly and quickly. The heat of the spaghetti will cook the eggs and turn them into a sauce. Add the bacon with its fat, and the cheese and mix again. Serve immediately with extra pepper on the table. Buon Appetito!


  1. Bonnie, we have been making a similar version out of the old Joy of Cooking for years as our standby Sunday lunch (or dinner). I usually go to the effort of buying pancetta, if for no other reason than the bacon in Japan is not like American bacon, but I have made it with either, My extra trick is to reserve a bit of the pasta water and put it in with the eggs and the cheese. I’ve never had a kid (or an adult) not gobble it up and people are always amazed to realize that in its original form, Carbonara has no cream.
    Love the photos!

    • The good old Joy of Cooking! That’s still my mom’s favorite cookbook. I like the trick about the pasta water… Going to try that too when I make this tonight.

  2. OK, Bonnie: first, your children are totally adorable and second, I am now starving! I am a huge fan of a meal in a bowl and I cannot get enough pasta in me belly. I am adding this to my list of easy meals during the week because God knows you can only eat so many egg in a hole dinners. Thanks for sharing this fabulous recipe and your cutie pie kids with us :)

  3. Thank you for reminding me of a great recipe that can be made at a moments notice with what is at hand. Love the new fonts and those kids are adorable!

    • Sometimes simple is just the best, isn’t it?! Glad we could remind you of this recipe, Cindy… and so happy you’re liking the fun fonts as well. Have a great weekend.