GINNA PARSONS: Absent child makes it easy to try pork dish

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

My daughter, Mary Langford, graduated from Tupelo High School on Friday night and promptly left the next morning for Panama City Beach, Fla., with a bunch of her girlfriends in tow.
So guess what I bought when I went to the grocery store on Saturday? Beef, pork, and more pork.
I try not to cook beef or pork when Mary is home, because she eats neither, but when she’s out of the house, all bets are off the table.
For months now, I’ve been wanting to cook a dish called Spaghetti Carbonara. It’s full of flavors that I adore: pasta, bacon, onion, garlic, eggs, cream and Parmesan cheese.
About five years ago, I had a recipe in this space for Spaghetti Carbonara from Cooking Light magazine I had planned to try, but never did. That recipe didn’t have onions or white wine or half and half, as this one does.
I read about 50 of the more than 900 reviews of this recipe and have tweaked this recipe accordingly. I made this dish Monday night and I have to admit it was quite delicious. Son Patrick even proclaimed it to be excellent “experimental” food.

Spaghetti Carbonara
8 ounces vermicelli
8 slices bacon, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup dry white wine (optional)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄2 cup reserved pasta water
1⁄4 cup half and half
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well, reserving 1⁄2 cup pasta water. Set aside.
Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook chopped bacon until slightly crisp; remove and drain onto paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat, add olive oil to it, and sauté chopped onion over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Add wine if desired; cook 1 more minute.
Return cooked bacon to pan; add cooked and drained spaghetti. Toss to coat and heat through. Combine beaten eggs, Parmesan, reserved pasta water and half and half and add to pasta mixture, tossing constantly with tongs or large fork until eggs are barely set. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that bacon and Parmesan are very salty).
Serve immediately with chopped parsley sprinkled on top, and pass extra Parmesan cheese at the table.
Serves 4.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.