Friday, September 7, 2007

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Sea Scallops

What do you do when you have a pound of excellent bacon and a wedge of parmegiano reggiano? Make carbonara, of course! The name of this simple but delicious pasta dish comes from the Italian word carbone, which means coal. Pretty ironic since the pasta is white, no? But many believe that the origin of the name comes from the fact that this pasta was a staple meal of coalminers because it could be made with very few ingredients, all of which kept well without refrigeration: pasta, eggs, hard cheese, and dried meat.

I used the recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and just fiddled around as I went along. Sea scallops were on sale, so why not make a good thing even better?

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Sea Scallops

1 pound spaghetti (I used spaghettini)
1/2 pound bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces
2 eggs
1 cup grated parmegiano
freshly ground black pepper
seared sea scallops*
1. In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Drain most of the fast, leaving about 2 tbsp. in the pan. (In an ideal world where calories wouldn't matter, I'd use all the drippings. But, oh well.)
2. In a separate bowl, mix eggs and cheese together.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
4. Add pasta to egg and cheese mixture. Add bacon and season generously with pepper. Mix well.
5. Top with sea scallops and a sprinkling of sea salt.
*For the sea scallops, melt butter in a small skillet. Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Sear scallops until caramelized, about a minute per side.

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