CookingLight diet CookingLight diet
Photo by Stacey Ballis
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Serves two

A good carbonara is a thing of beauty: a tangle of noodles slicked with a creamy cheese-forward sauce, little nuggets of salty pork cheeks. The sauce itself is a miracle of pasta cooking water, cheese, and an egg cooked only by the residual heat of the pasta. When done well, it is glorious and rich, and when done badly it is a sad, gluey dish full of little egg curds.  

Carbonara on its surface should be the perfect food for a challenging morning: carbs to settle the stomach, protein to bolster the spirit, bacon, because, well, bacon.  It is comfort food on various fronts. The problem with morning carbonara is that it cannot be made well when bleary-eyed unless you are a chef or an Italian nonna. Carbonara in general should usually be made only if you are a chef or an Italian nonna.  

But I am here to save your morning, with a technique that gets you all the good stuff you need in carbonara, made easy enough to be cooked while you're operating at less than 100 percent capacity. First off, it is a one-pan wonder.  Second, it uses ramen noodles, so it comes together super fast. And whereas in a normal carbonara you dread the formulation of the egg curds, here, being breakfast and all, you are looking for that to happen, making it a carbonara with scrambled eggs. 

I’m giving you a recipe that serves two, in case someone else is on the premises. I recommend you serve this right in the pan with a couple of forks, and return directly to bed.

Ramen Carbonara

Photo by Stacey Ballis

How to Make It

Step 1

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, cook the bacon until it is rendered and browned.  Remove to a plate with paper towels to drain.   Blot the residual bacon fat out of the pan with a paper towel, but leave any crispy bits that might be stuck.  

Step 2

Add two cups of water, the butter, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese to the pot. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until you have a creamy looking broth, being sure to scrape the bottom to get those bacon bits added to the mix.  Add the two squares of noodles in to cook, stirring frequently, until they are softened. Keep stirring until the noodles are al dente and the sauce is thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Pour off the excess broth into a small bowl, leaving the noodles a bit soupy but not swimming.  Essentially you want the broth to come up halfway of the depth of the noodles. You should have about 1/2 cup of reserved broth.  Keep stirring until the sauce reduces a bit and just coats the noodles, maybe another minute.

Step 3

Push the noodles to one side of the pan and add the eggs in the space you create, stirring them inside that hole until they begin to form large curds, then mixing the eggs in with the noodles. Add the bacon bits, and remaining cheese, and the reserved broth stirring all the time until you get a pile of noodles and sauce with egg curds.  Top with sliced scallions and a good grinding of black pepper.

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