comfort food: a recipe

When it comes to comfort food, our number 1 go-to in the Jacobs household is a thoroughly Americanized version of the Italian classic spaghetti carbonara. Don’t bother telling me that they wouldn’t do it this way in Rome. I know that. This is adapted for American ingredients and American palates. But it’s darn good, and dead easy to boot. 

Ingredients: 

  • One pound pasta, ideally shells or orecchiette 
  • Four slices thick-cut bacon 
  • One medium onion  
  • One large or two small green bell peppers  
  • Two eggs 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Method: 

  • Get a lot of salted water in a big pot and heat it to boiling 
  • In a skillet, fry the bacon on medium heat until done, then remove and set aside 
  • While the bacon is cooking, dice the onion and pepper 
  • Remove some of the rendered bacon fat, if you’re that kind of person, then add the diced pepper and start to sauté 
  • After a few minutes, add the onion; sauté onions and peppers until soft 
  • When the water starts to boil, throw the pasta in there  
  • While the veggies and pasta are cooking, chop the bacon into bite-sized chunks 
  • When the pasta is done, drain it and return to the pot 
  • Add the onions, peppers, and bacon to the pasta; stir 
  • Crack two eggs into the pot and stir around like crazy for 30 seconds or so; that will coat the pasta with the egg and cook it gently with the retained heat of the ingredients 
  • Grind lots of pepper into the mix, and I mean LOTS; grate Parmesan into the mix to taste 
  • Distribute into bowls and eat while hot. 

You don’t need to add any salt because there’s plenty in the bacon and Parmesan. Shells and orecchiette are good for this dish because they have little cups that catch pieces of the bacon, onion, and pepper. This should serve 4 as a one-dish (plus salad, if you’re into that kind of thing) meal. A robust, earthy red wine is a perfect accompaniment.