This carbonara pasta dish comes together quickly and is made with minimal ingredients. The prosciutto doesn’t take as long as its bacon counterpart to crisp, making it a bit more friendly for those nights when you’re juggling one too many things as you try to get dinner on the table.
Fall, with its turning leaves and cooling wind, always feels like a brisk walk instead of a gentle shift into winter. The back-to-school season, football games and a whole host of autumnal activities fill my plate before I’ve even registered there’s a plate to fill. Evenings are suddenly full of homework help and swim meets, rushing here and there as we try desperately to fit in a few more family walks and bike rides before the weather turns and we’re shut indoors.
These nights, the ones that seem to sneak up on me, ambushing my desire to enjoy a leisurely meal, require a few meals that are able to be thrown together quickly without a lot of measuring and mixing or stirring and fussing.
I always have a box of pasta on hand, and it’s good to have a few pasta sauce recipes that don’t actually involve making a sauce, but combining a few things that pull the dish together instead. Eggs, cheese and a bit of leftover lunchmeat may not seem like the makings of a meal, but they come together seamlessly. Once it’s ready, it gets served right from the pan alongside a simple salad, leftover bread and extra vegetables that finished in the broiler as the pasta was cooking.
We don’t have time for serving dishes and fancy utensils on most of the nights we eat dinner as a family. We’re just looking to get dinner on the table and into our mouths as quickly as possible, with little pomp and circumstance. This is real life: messy and wonderful, with a full bowl of warm noodles.
Prosciutto Carbonara Pasta
Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 1 pound dry pasta (long strand pasta works best, like spaghetti or fettuccini)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 slices prosciutto, cut into smaller pieces
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- The key here is to do your prep and sauce cooking as the water comes to a boil and then as the pasta is cooking. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil as you prep your ingredients. Once boiling, add your pasta and boil for the recommended amount of time until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water to make the sauce.
- As the pasta is boiling, in a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring infrequently, until crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add in the shallots and cook until translucent and soft, stirring in the oregano at the end.
- In a bowl, beat the two eggs and combine with the cheese. When the pasta is drained, add the drained pasta to the pan with the shallots and oregano, tossing to coat. Add in the eggs and cheese, stirring briskly so the eggs thicken to a sauce but do not scramble. Slowly add the reserved pasta water to create a thick sauce.
- Plate the pasta and top with crisped prosciutto, black pepper and parsley.
Serves 4 to 6
Photo credit: Shaina Olmanson