Mondays are always a little hard, self-isolation notwithstanding. But a big bowl of cheesy pasta makes it better. And if you’ve got bacon and a hard, grating-type cheese, then carbonara is within reach. It’s speedy, too.
To make enough for three or four people, cook 12 ounces pasta in well-salted water until very al dente. (Any shape works, but spaghetti or linguine are traditional.) Be sure to undercook the pasta by a minute or two because you’re going to finish it in the skillet with the sauce. Just before draining, dip a coffee cup into the pot and retrieve some of the pasta cooking water. (Save this for the sauce.)
While the pasta is cooking, use a fork to beat two eggs plus a couple of yolks with 1/3 cup each grated Parmesan and pecorino Romano, or use 2/3 cup of just one kind of cheese, if that’s all you have. Save those egg whites in the fridge! (They will keep for at least two weeks, and I’m planning on using mine for macaroons later this week.) Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the beaten eggs, using more salt if you don’t have the salty pecorino Romano. If you like garlic, you can also add a grated clove to the eggs.
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook 3 or 4 slices of diced bacon (or 3 or 4 ounces guanciale, pancetta or even salami, if you’ve got some on hand) until golden. Depending on how fatty the bacon is, you might need a drizzle of olive oil in the pan to get it rendering. You don’t want it crisp, just golden at the edges, but still tender. Some people add a chopped onion to the pan at this point, but I don’t.