Are you ready for storytime? I hope so, because I have a tale for you.
Many moons ago [or, four years ago this August] I was preparing to move out of my parents’ house and into the real world for the first time. I had moved back in after college graduation in May to raise support for my upcoming internship with Campus Crusade for Christ at Ohio University and once that was complete, I was ready to go! I knew how to cook, but aside from my mom’s tried and true recipes, I didn’t have a lot of expertise since I live in dorms and my sorority house all through college and never had my own kitchen. I didn’t own many cookbooks either. My mom on the other hand had a whole bookshelf full. So, what’s a girl to do?
Aside from stealing cookbooks in the night or spending all of my [non-existent] cold, hard cash on cookbooks [this was in 2007… food blogs and recipe sites were not what they are now], I spent several exciting days photocopying recipes and creating a little food binder for myself. My own cookbook, if you will. One recipe that caught my eye from Giada DeLaurentiis’ repertoire was this little twist on an “easy weeknight Italian supper.” The combination of sweet and salty sounded divine to me, and into the binder it went. It sounded fancy even though it was simple and I vowed to save it for something special.
The first few months of the real world provided zero opportunities for a special meal, but as the new year of 2008 sped along, the perfect occasion arose. Or rather, the perfect person.
Ben and I started dating in February of 2008 and one of the first food-related things I learned about the boy was his love for bacon. One thing we really loved to do together in those early months of togetherness was cook in my house or his apartment together, probably annoying our roommates by taking over the kitchen with ingredients and our love-sick puppy dog eyes. One night while deciding what to make, inspiration struck as I thought of my little cookbook. Cinnamon! Bacon! Pasta! Cheese! Together! A bit odd, but it could work. Right?
With courageous hearts, we quickly gathered up all the necessary components of this dish and gave it a go. I must admit, we made one significant change from Giatta’s version–she uses a 3:1 ratio of pancetta to bacon… but pancetta wasn’t really in our budget at the time so bacon all the way! We also halve the original recipe [our version is noted below] because it isn’t very good reheated–it loses a lot of flavor as the sauce absorbs into the pasta in the refrigerator.
The smell of this pasta simmering away was intoxicating and addicting. It’s what dreams are made of. One bite and we were hooked. Salty, smoky, and sweet, this dinner couldn’t be beat. And, this, my dear friends, is the true story of how Cinnamon Bacon Carbonara came to our household. It’s a recipe that’s spanned our dating, engagement, and marriage, and one that will unwittingly reach into our future.
So tell me: what recipe will reach into your future? I can’t wait to get a glimpse into your culinary life!
Cinnamon Bacon Carbonara [from Giada DeLaurentiis’ Everday Pasta]
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + more for serving
- 3 large egg yolks
- 9 ounces fettuccine
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Begin by preparing a large pot of water to boil over high heat.
Then, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until nearly crispy, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and cook for 2 more minutes, or until crisp and golden. Reduce heat to low.
Add the fettuccine to the pot when boiling, reduce heat, and cook for 3 minutes, or until pasta is tender yet still firm to the bite.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, cheese, and egg yolks. Pour into the pan with the bacon and cook at a very low simmer, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce mixture along with the pepper. Stir together and cook on low until the sauce coats the pasta, approximately 3 more minutes. Serve topped with fresh chives, and extra cheese if desired.