Ahh… Bacon. Need I say more? Of course I can! Perhaps we could describe it as the world’s most loved preserved meat; A good compliment to eggs and toast in the morning; Or a welcome flavor booster to most savory dishes.
I love bacon, and if you are reading this I’m sure you do too. Relatively affordable, and available in all kinds of preparations (smoked, salted, cured, cooked), bacon might even be considered a seasoning on its own!
However, like all great friendships, the story of bacon is not one of a solo journey into the wild unknown. Instead, it is a journey of 3 friends that overcome adversity to become the most delicious of dishes. The humble button mushroom – plain in its appearance, but filled with deep flavor when browned. The layered onion – its juices make you tear, but cook it down for mellow sweetness. And finally, the leader of our pack – Bacon! The savory fat rendered in a hot pan brings its buddies together, preparing them for any culinary adventures to come!
So join me, and the BMO (Bacon, Mushroom, and Onion) trio, as we venture forth!
In our premiere episode of the BMO trio… “The Yolk’s on you! This AIN’T no Carbonara!”.
I love comfort food as much as the next person, and sometimes it is in the form of a nourishing chicken noodle soup, and on other days it could be a big bowl of pasta. This is one of those pasta days – And with the BMO trio, joined in this episode by the Egg and Cream sisters, boy are they in for an adventure!
Spaghetti (Not) Carbonara
THIS IS NOT CARBONARA! But it is a tasty riff on that famous dish! Traditional carbonara involves pecorino cheese, pancetta (salt cured pork belly) and eggs. My version has bacon, onions, mushrooms, cream and parmesan cheese.
- 80-100 g dried spaghetti n5 spaghetti, cooks in about 8 minutes
- 3 tbsp BMO mix Refer to Bacon Mushroom and Onion mix recipe
- 2 tbsp light cream 20% fat content cream
- 1 whole egg
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese use parmigiano reggiano if possible
- salt and black pepper season to taste
- 1 tsp italian or english parsley (optional garnish) washed and chopped
To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and cook pasta according to package directions.
Remove pasta 1 minute sooner than the recommended cooking time. Drain pasta, and reserve a cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
In a separate pan over medium heat, lightly fry BMO mix to reheat. Once the mixture is hot, reduce heat to low and add light cream.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and parmesan cheese. Add black pepper to this as desired.
To combine, add pasta to BMO and cream mix in the pan. Stir to combine, and let the pasta absorb the liquid to finish cooking over low heat. If the mixture looks too dry, add pasta water by the tablespoonful. The mixture should look slightly moist.
To serve, remove pan from heat, and add in egg and cheese mixture into middle of pasta; stirring vigorously until well combined. Taste and check final seasoning, adjusting if necessary.
Transfer to dinner plate, and enjoy!
- Recommended salt to water ratio for pasta cooking water - 1 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt per liter of water.
- For a fancier presentation, separate the egg yolk, and add the egg yolk on top of the pasta at the end. Mix before eating.
Okay, I admit – The very first time I had pasta carbonara as a teen in Singapore, it was filled with cream and bacon. It was rich, salty, and overwhelming. But somehow I kept on wanting to come back for more. I did learn subsequently on a trip to Italy (and also from watching many passionate Italian Chefs exclaim on Youtube) that real, proper, Italian Spaghetti Carbonara contains Pancetta, Pecorino Cheese, and Egg Yolks; no cream!
Hence the title of my post (An attempt to protect myself from passionate Italians). Pancetta is belly of pork, salt cured – which technically makes it bacon. And pecorino is a lovely cheese, and you can use it if you like (it just isn’t easily available in Singapore). I simply choose to add in cream because I love the richness it adds to this dish. Finally, I do use the whole egg in this dish, rather than just the yolk. I can’t bring myself to toss the egg white, and I do like the added benefit of the egg white reducing the overall richness of the dish ever so slightly.
Carbonara (or not carbonara) does take very well to black pepper. Be generous with it, as the fat in the dish can carry it. Add a few grinds from your pepper mill while cooking, and leave it on the table to add to your pasta at the end. The black pepper lifts the dish and enhances the BMO trio.
From one eggy situation to another!? The BMO trio never fails to succeed. In our next episode, the BMO trio tackle brunch! In… “An egg in hot water! Caught between a runny yolk and fresh toasted country bread!!”
If you like this recipe, please leave a comment and subscribe to my mailing list!