Economizing My Pantry: Pasta Carbonara

I try to do my grocery shopping once a week. It’s just less hassle that way. If I stop after work, nearly everyone in the city has the exact same idea. The aisles are crowded or under stocked, or the produce is picked over so that only the bruised and wilting vegetables remain. The best time I’ve discovered to do one’s grocery shopping is early Sunday morning. Early. It’s lovely; I can meander down the aisle at a leisurely pace with a shopping cart and no one is in my way. The thing is, I’m not always motivated to get up that early on a Sunday morning.

Croutons. Sliced baguette toasted in skillet in the remaining (turkey) bacon grease, topped with cracked black pepper and Parmesan cheese.

One week night I realized that if I wanted to eat dinner I would have to cook something. Leftovers were all gone. What was I going to cook since I hadn’t gone shopping and I didn’t feel like going? That was the challenge. I took out a pen and paper and jot down items I knew I had.

  • pasta
  • eggs
  • bacon
  • bread
  • Parmesan cheese
  • apples

I’ve been wanting to make an apple pie, and now that I had some beautiful apples on hand I decided that would be desert. They weren’t Granny Smith apples but Braeburn. I could live with that. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t cook every night. On the week nights I prefer to have leftovers on hand so I can easily reheat and enjoy some downtime before bed. Sometimes when things at the office gets bizarre, I just feel the need to cook. This happened to be one of those kind of days on top of me needing to cook something if I wanted dinner. So, I didn’t mind; it became therapy.

I made four individualized apple galettes rather than one big apple pie.

As for the main course, I found a recipe on Saveur.com for Pasta Carbonara. I’ve never made the dish before, but I certainly had the needed ingredients. Actually I was quite pleased to be able to plan a menu with a limited supply without having to get anything from the grocery store. I even brewed a pitcher of Georgia peach tea for a summer flavored iced tea (I rarely do that).

Dinner plated and served.

The dish was simple to make. I remember Rachel Ray saying that her husband’s favorite dish was her pasta carbonara, and she would make for him when they craved something during the night. It’s definitely comfort food. Oh my goodness. Once it’s all put together, the egg and Parmesan mixed with the hot pasta and some of the boiling paster water combined into a sauce so very nearly like creamy Alfredo. It was good–it was better than good; it was comforting.

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