If you are using good quality pasta and not overcooking it, it doesn't take much more than some good olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano to make a satisfying meal. Remember it is about the pasta; do not drown it in sauce. Be frugal.
But pasta pairs well with so many other things, but going back to the well too often can make it boring.
Carbonara is one of my favorite pasta dishes and it is simple. Anyone can make this dish, but there is one proviso, as always, you have to use best quality ingredients.
Give this simple recipe a try and let me know how it turns out.
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1 pound of your favorite long pasta (try pappardelle)
3-6 slices best quality bacon
2-4 farm fresh eggs
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
olive oil as needed
Lots of Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and pepper
Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, then splash some good olive oil over it. Cook the bacon until it is crispy, then chop. If you diet allows it, use some of the bacon fat to cook the rest of the meal in, if not, wipe the pan and add olive oil. Add the garlic and cook briefly, add the bacon and pasta, toss and heat thoroughly, just before serving add the raw eggs (the pasta has to be warm enough to finish cooking the eggs), then add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, toss again and serve immediately.