mains, pasta, grains, + noodles

linguini carbonara with manchego and maple-cured bacon

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This is one of those meals that can magically emerge from the fridge and onto your plate just when you thought you didn't have anything in the house to eat.   It's decadent, quick and extremely satisfying.  Get the water going and you are about 15 minutes away from dinner.  You'll probably even have time to whip up a gorgeous salad while you are waiting for the pasta to cook!

Feel free to improvise here.  I happen to be in love with manchego. I really like the combination of the nuttiness of the cheese with the sweet notes of the maple bacon. Use parmesan (classic) or pecorino, maybe pancetta in place of the bacon, toss in some cooked peas (BANNED in my house), maybe some other fresh herbs such as basil or oregano (with a light hand).  No hard rules.  It's all about getting creative with what you have.

linguini carbonara with manchego and maple-cured bacon

1 lb linguini

4 pieces of thick-cut maple cured bacon

1/2 c grated manchego cheese + more for serving

4 eggs, whisked

1/8 c flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1/4 c heavy cream

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Put the water on to boil.  Cook the bacon until most of the fat is rendered and drain on some paper towels.  Cut the bacon into 1/4 pieces and set aside.  Trim away as much fat as possible.

Pour mostly all of the fat from the pan you used to cook the bacon, reserving a tablespoon or so, and return the pan to medium heat and sauté the garlic, careful not to burn it.  Set aside.  You should have your herbs, cheese, eggs and cream all ready to go.

Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and return the pasta to the pot.  Toss in your eggs first and stir.  The heat of the pasta will cook them slightly and a luxurious sauce will start to form.  Add the remaining ingredients and continue to stir.  Check for seasonings.  I like a lot of fresh black pepper to balance out the richness.  Serve immediately as the pasta with continue to absorb the sauce pretty quickly.