Special Occasion Spaghetti Carbonara Madelena

I got this recipe as a newlywed.  This recipe is kind of rich with the bacon and sausage and whipping cream, so I don’t think of it as a regular week night kind of dinner, but it’s something you would make for a special occasion  . . .  like for Valentines’ Day . . . .when you wish you were at Romano’s Macaroni Grill but you aren’t.   It’s very, very good.

  • 4 thick or 6 thin slices bacon (about 1/4 lb)
  • 2 fresh Italian sausages, regular or hot (1/2 to 2/3 lb)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 lb uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup whipping cream or half-and-half
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Freshly ground nutmeg to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley

Slice bacon strips into 1/2-inch pieces.  Saute in a large skillet until crisp.  Set aside on a plate.  Squeeze Italian sausage from casing into hot bacon fat and break into small chunks.  Saute about 10 minutes over medium-low heat until cooked through.  Add garlic and saute briefly.  Return bacon to skillet.  While preparing bacon and sausage, combine water, salt and oil in a large saucepan.  Bring to a full boil.  Gradually add spaghetti, maintaining a boil, easing it into the water as it softens.  Cook uncovered about 12 minutes until tender.  Cooked spaghetti should cut cleanly with a spoon.  Drain spaghetti in a strainer or colander.  Return to saucepan over low heat or put in a warm chafing dish or electric skillet to finish at table.  Toss hot bacon and sausage, including drippings, into spaghetti.  Push spaghetti to sides of pan and break egg into center.  Quickly scramble egg and stir it into spaghetti.  Toss in grated cheese.  pour in 1/4 cup whipping cream or half-and-half.  Mix.  As cream is absorbed, add up to 1/4 cup more.  Add black pepper and nutmeg.  Garnish with minced parsley.  Makes 2 servings.

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