Family Dinner Under $10: Spaghetti Carbonara
We went out to eat this week, and looking at the bill for a family of six is enough to make you feel a little bit sick. While it was a celebratory dinner, I still couldn't help think of all the meals I could have made with that money if spent elsewhere. The secret to frugal living, you see, is in the cooking.
Yes, cooking from scratch is cheaper. It always has been. Plus, it gets you around the dinner table together talking, and frugal meals can still be celebratory.
When I think of cheap meals, beans and rice may come to mind, but pasta night is one of those lovely meals that can be affordable and still elegant. A glass of wine and salad is all that is needed to round out this meal, and you'll never feel like you're coasting in under the $10 mark.
1 pound fettuccini or spaghetti noodles
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon or pancetta, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup white wine
Start the pasta cooking in a large pot of boiling water. Heat the bacon pieces, olive oil and garlic in a large sauté pan over medium heat until the bacon is crisp. Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Allow the mixture to cook for a bit to reduce.
Mix together the Parmesan cheese and the eggs until combined. When the pasta is ready, drain the water, reserving ½ cup or so. Immediately add the eggs and cheese to the warm pasta in the pot. Stir to melt all the cheese. Add in the bacon sauce and the bacon pieces and stir. Use the reserved pasta water to get the pasta to a creamy, not sticky consistency, adding just enough to achieve this.
Makes 6-8 servings.