pasta carbonara

serves 4

Wondering the difference between an adapted recipe and how to make one your own? This one is a perfect example. Ruth Reichl's original recipe included bacon, garlic, olive oil, eggs, and pasta. I swapped in pancetta, an Italian-style bacon, added peas, scaled back the Parmesan cheese, added heavy cream, and tweaked the technique. Check out the recent slideshow I presented at TECHmunch for more notes on recipe writing.

8 ounces uncooked pasta, preferably spaghetti or linguine

8 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped

extra virgin olive oil, as needed

1/2 cup shelled spring peas

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, depending on taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cooked al dente according to package directions. Add the shelled peas to the pot of boiling pasta during the last minute of cooking time.

Meanwhile, heat a 10-inch skillet over medium flame. Add pancetta, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the cooking grease.

While the pancetta is cooking, add the eggs, heavy cream and cheese to a deep serving bowl. Beat with a fork to combine. Drain the cooked pasta and peas. Add to the egg mixture, along with the cooked pancetta and cooking grease. Toss  with a set of tongs (two large forks will do the job too), working quickly so the egg doesn't curdle. Season with pepper to taste. Garnish with more freshly grated Parmesan, if desired, before serving.