One of my favorite things to eat is a runny egg. It’s actually the only “banned food” that I couldn’t bring myself to give up when I was pregnant. So it’s no surprise that I find pasta carbonara delicious. I’ve found the perfect recipe by combining a recipe from Jamie Oliver with one from America’s Test Kitchen (account required). Here’s what I do.

Serves 2.

  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti

  • 1 whole egg

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, romano, or similar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon

Bring 1 quart (4 cups) water to a boil to cook spaghetti. The small amount of water is important because it’ll get super starchy and help thicken the sauce later. Add salt when it comes to a boil and cook spaghetti. You will need to stir the spaghetti often to keep it from sticking since there isn’t much water for it to move around in.

Bring bacon & 2 tbsp water to a boil in a small frying pan. Continue to simmer until water evaporates and bacon starts to crisp. Remove from heat. Add minced garlic and allow to infuse for 30-60 seconds. Let bacon bits drain on a paper towel.

Reserve 1/2 tbsp bacon fat in a bowl. Add the eggs/yolks, cheese, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whisk everything until smooth.

Put a colander in a large bowl. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it in the colander in the bowl. This will help warm the bowl and reserve the pasta cooking liquid. Pour 1/2 cup of the water in a measuring cup and discard rest. You might not have much more than 1/2 cup left. Put the spaghetti in the bowl. Pour egg/cheese mixture over spaghetti and toss continuously with tongs for about 4 minutes. This constant motion is important – it will keep the eggs from setting or curdling and ensure a smooth sauce. As you toss it, slowly add the starchy pasta water as necessary until you get the consistency you want. Add in the bacon bits. Serve immediately – this is not the kind of dish that can sit.

Serves 2.