Dinner in 30: Spaghetti Carbonara with Prosciutto

Spaghetti Carbonara: Simple, elegant, and cheap.

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I was inspired by one of Chris’s posts to think and write about my own carbonara.

My mother is half Italian, but this isn’t a dish she fixed. She thinks it sounds a little odd. I shall have to make it for her.

This dinner is delightful — satisfying, simple, and extremely easy.

spaghetti carbonara

You can cook the spaghetti in the time it takes to fry up the onions and prosciutto, so this dish is SUPER-fast to make, and everyone seems to like it. The actual cooking effort on the meal will take you approximately ten minutes. You can have this on the table in no time, except for the artichoke, but if you pressure-cook artichokes, they’re fast, and if you use a pot, you don’t have to tend them. Not that I mind spending an hour working in the kitchen when it’s warranted, but spaghetti carbonara is just one of those simple and delicious things that take almost no time at all to throw together. And the cost for making this dish runs somewhere around seventy cents a serving, so it’s excellent bargain food.

I usually use bacon, but I bought some prosciutto on sale, and it worked out really well with that little substitution. Plus, since there’s not a bunch of bacon grease to throw into the mix, I imagine it’s probably lower in fat than the original, though I couldn’t tell you for sure. I served it with artichokes and a bunch of black seedless grapes; serve a different veggie to get this on the table in 30 minutes.

Spaghetti Carbonara
(adapted from Ruth Reichl’s carbonara recipe—though no one wanted extra cheese on theirs)

8 oz. spaghetti or other pasta
1 egg
5 oz. prosciutto, chopped (or use bacon)
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

Fry the onion and prosciutto together on medium heat until the onion starts to soften, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or two. Meanwhile, beat the egg in the bowl you’re going to mix the spaghetti in, and add a few grinds of black pepper. Then while the prosciutto is still cooking, cook the spaghetti (if you don’t know how to do that, don’t worry — there are instructions here.) As soon as you drain the pasta (do NOT rinse), add it to the egg and mix well — the heat of the pasta will cook the egg. Then mix in the prosciutto mixture and parmesan and serve.

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Author: Serene

I run The Mom Food Project, which was born out of love for my mom and a desire to preserve the recipes of my childhood, which didn't actually exist in written form until I quizzed my mom and wrote the recipes down.

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