The once tiny basil plant on the back porch is now very large and bushy so I'm always looking for ways to incorporate basil into recipes so I can keep up with the plant. This variation of Spaghetti alla Carbonara incorporates basil and sauteed mushrooms with the classic recipe. Carbonara is Steven's favorite meal and in the end he preferred the original version of just bacon, eggs, and cheese instead of this one. However, I found the flavors very enjoyable and a little change is nice sometimes.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Basil and Mushrooms
4 oz thick sliced bacon, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 C grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper, generous amount but to taste
8 oz spaghetti
A handful of basil leaves, torn into small pieces or chiffonade
Heat a skillet over medium heat to render the bacon. Once the bacon is crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Pour out all of the rendered fat of the skillet reserving about 1 - 2 tsp of sauteing the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until they are brown and all the liquid has evaporated. Add the mushrooms to the bacon and set aside. As the mushrooms are cooking, start boiling your pasta.
As the spaghetti cooks, beat the eggs, parmesan, and pepper together in a bowl. The sauce must be prepared before the pasta is done cooking.
When the pasta is al dente, quickly drain but reserve some of the pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Immediately return the pasta to the pot (off heat) and pour the egg mixture over the pasta, add the bacon and mushrooms, and quickly stir into the pasta. The residual heat from the pasta and pot will cook the eggs and thicken it into a sauce. Keep stirring until the sauce has thickened and evenly coats the pasta. Work quickly otherwise the eggs will scramble rather than temper into a smooth and creamy sauce. If the sauce is too thick add a bit of the pasta water to loosen it. Serve immediately and add more freshly ground pepper if you'd like. I like mine really peppery.