Carbonara is my go-to “I’m in a rush” meal. Realistically, all you need is eggs, cheese and pasta, but I like to add in a little spinach, bacon and cracked pepper to spice it up. Carbonara has all of the delicious creaminess of Alfredo, but with a fraction of the time and no cream! This can be done with any pasta, but here I have used gnocchi here.
Just be careful when making Carbonara to ensure you do not over cook the sauce – it will turn to scrambled eggs! If you see the resemblance of scrambled eggs starting to form, remove IMMEDIATELY from the heat.
2 cups gnocchi*
1 cup bacon, cooked and chopped into bacon bits
1 cup spinach**
Water for pasta
Pinch of salt
Dash of canola oil
For the sauce:
1 cup sharp cheese, grated (can be Parmesan, Asiago, Aged Cheddar or any other sharp cheese you like)
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
*Any pasta can be substituted in this recipe.
**You can use raw spinach, which will cook in the sauce or previously frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained.
Bring the water to a boil with the salt and oil (this will prevent the pasta from sticking together). Add the gnocchi; cook until tender and they start to float (if you are unsure taste one – they should be tender all the way through and not taste like flour).
Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water. Add the spinach, bacon and ingredients for the sauce to the still-hot pasta pot. Pulling on and off low heat, stir until the sauce thickens and the cheese has fully melted. If the sauce starts to resemble scrambled eggs – remove IMMEDIATELY from the heat. If the sauce is too thick, add a little of the reserved pasta water to the sauce.
Serves 2-4 (depending of if main or side)