Breakfast Carbonara


To me, this idea just makes sense. It's not gimmicky. I'm not adding Jimmy Dean sausage (shout out to our non-sponsors) and calling this breakfast. All I did was take the elements of a traditional carbonara and make some tweaks. It simply arrived out of necessity, and what I was left with was a pasta dish for the early morning. 

Pasta for breakfast is one of my favorite things. I remember in 2005 I was working at a restaurant with my brother (this would happen 4 more times), and being very stoned at 8 in the morning, eating veal parmigiana as we set up the line for the day's service. Breakfast carbonara is more suited to a morning palette. Deviating from a traditional preparation, the egg is fried or poached and placed on top - so you get to cut the yolk yourself like a proper morning egg. Spaghetti is substituted for orecchiette or gnocchi, a pasta more suited for spoonfuls so it feels like a hash. The result is something that feels natural, easy, and will surely leave you wondering why you've never eaten pasta for breakfast before.

For the Orecchiette
See the section in Vegan Pasta.

For The Carbonara
Dice the guanciale evenly. Guanciale is salty and fatty pork jowl. It is delicious and I eat it raw, but don't do that. Add it to a pan on low heat, and slowly render off any fat until it's close to being golden brown. Add your diced shallot and garlic and sweat until it becomes as cooked as the guanciale. Now add your butter and let it melt into the mixture. Crack a lot of black pepper. Now it should look like this...

At this point, your orrecchiette should be about 5 or 6 minutes into cooking. Use the pasta water, maybe 10-12 spoonfuls, and add it to your carbonara sauce. The starchiness in the pasta water is an excellent addition. It will help create a solid sauce, and it holds the flavors immensley well. The ratio for your pasta water is important. The pot shouldn't be too full of water, but there should be room for it to breathe, to float. Also, it's very hard to over salt your pasta water. Salt generously. Always.

I believe in tasting pasta, not timing it, although you can bet on your orrecchiette taking 8-12 minutes. When it's al dente, add it to your sauce, which should contain enough liquid to continue cooking your pasta, although not completely submerging it in some watery mess. Let everything cook together for another 2 to 3 minutes. Your pasta will finish in the sauce and take on amazing flavor. Start grating a ton of parmigiana. Add a fried egg, some basil if you wish. Carbonara with the egg on top. Not reinventing the wheel here, just a simple thing done well.

- Danny