Pasta Carbonara with Ricotta

Homemade ricotta experimentation continues. This sounded like an interesting take on carbonara. Recipe is pretty foolproof, and makes a ton, despite its claim that it only serves 4. I cut down on the oil a little because despite this being an anniversary dinner meal, the amount was kind of ridiculous.

1 pound spaghetti or other pasta (I used linguine)

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices bacon
4 eggs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese at room temperature
2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (do not substitute Parmesan)
3/4 cup shelled fresh peas, or frozen
Black pepper to taste

In a medium skillet with high sides, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add the bacon pieces and turn the heat to low. Cook them gently, turning the pieces occasionally, for 20 minutes or so.

Bring a pot of salty water to boil. Boil the pasta until cooked through but still chewy. If using fresh peas, add them about 3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking; if using frozen, add them 1 minute before.

While the pasta is cooking, lightly beat the eggs with the ricotta, breaking up any curds. Add most of the cheese to the mixture, and plenty of black pepper.

When the pasta and peas are nearly done, turn the heat up to high on the bacon to gently crisp the edges, then remove from the heat. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the bacon. Toss quickly to coat the noodles, then pour the beaten egg mixture over everything and fold it quickly into the noodles. The egg should cook gently from the heat of the pasta, while the ricotta will form tiny curds.

Serve with the remaining cheese and more black pepper.

Makes: About 9 cups of pasta mixture


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