This is a earthy and strongly flavored take on the classic Italian pasta dish. It is meant for late fall arugula, with its assertive flavor, and smoked American-stye bacon (but not cured with sugar or maple). Timing is important for this dish, as it must be served right away. The bacon mixture can be held for a few minutes if the spaghetti is not quite ready, but the pasta needs to be added when it is just al dente, as it finished cooking in the sauté pan. I’m a huge fan of long-handled wire spiders that allow you to scoop the pasta directly into a sauce without having to dump gallons of boiling water into the sink, but if you only have a colander, be sure to reserve some of the cooking water to finish the spaghetti. The hot pasta cooks the egg-cheese mixture and softens the arugula.
8 slices of thick-cut smoked bacon
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Romano cheese
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 large bunch mature fresh arugula
Salt and pepper to taste.
1 lb. spaghetti rigati
No nutrition information available
Bring 6 quarts of well-salted water to a boil.
Dice the bacon into 1/4-inch pieces, place in a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the pasta, and place over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and slightly crispy, about 5 minutes. Dice the onion and finely mince the garlic. Wash and thoroughly dry the arugula. Pulse it in the Cuisinart food processor until finely chopped.
When the bacon starts to sizzle, add the spaghetti to the water and stir well. Boil for 8 minutes, or until just al dente. While the pasta is cooking, combine the egg yolks, cream, and cheese with some freshly ground black pepper in an attractive serving bowl, and set aside.
When the bacon is brown, turn the heat up to medium, add the olive oil and onions, and cook, stirring regularly, for 3-5 minutes or until the onions are soft. Turn the heat up to medium high, add the wine, and stir constantly, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan, until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Turn the heat down to low.
Using a large pasta spider, scoop the spaghetti from the water directly into sauté pan and toss well. Gradually add in 2-4 tablespoons of the pasta water. The spaghetti should be well lubricated, but never soupy. Keep tossing until the liquid is absorbed, then remove from heat.
Transfer the pasta into the serving bowl and toss until the spaghetti is thoroughly coated with the cheese mixture. Add the arugula and toss until well combined. Carry the bowl to the table and serve immediately.