I love heirloom tomatoes; their lovely summer smell, the way they make a completely satisfying lunch all by themselves. But truthfully, they stress me out. A lot. Leave one on the counter a day too long, and you’re left with purple tomato mush. Winter vegetables, however, are reliable friends. Having purchased a bag of brussels sprouts intending to serve them at a holiday sleepover the week after Christmas, they kept resiliently in the fridge until approximately mid-January, quietly waiting for their star turn in a classic pasta dish.
As for Spaghetti Carbonara… it was the first recipe I learned to make from memory, the main course at my first dinner party (back when I used to make everyone sit on Ikea cushions around the coffee table). And it uses three eggs. Swoon. If I made this and gateau au chocolat fondant de Nathalie every week, I could almost keep pace with my CSA egg share.
Spaghetti carbonara and brussels sprouts… it’s like when two friends get married. You don’t even know which side of the aisle to sit on.
Serves 4 (or 1, for four meals…)
Equipment: If you own a cast iron skillet (10″-12″) this is the time to use it.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta.
Cut the bacon crosswise into thin strips. Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet, and cook bacon over medium heat appx. 3-5 minutes, until the fat is rendered. Push bacon to one side of the pan and add quartered brussels sprouts. Cook until VERY brown and crisp on the outside, stirring as little as possible. Truly, step away from the stove and crack the eggs. Throw in a palmful of crushed red pepper, more if you like some heat, and cook for 1 minute more. Remove skillet from heat.
In a small bowl, whisk eggs and cheese together.
When spaghetti is al dente, drain, reserving appx. 1 cup of pasta water, and return to pasta pot. Add the egg/cheese mixture and toss to coat, adding pasta water a little at a time if needed to help coat the pasta. Add the contents of the skillet, salt to taste, and toss everything together with a pair of tongs.
Serve with extra cheese for passing.