We wanted to make spaghetti carbonara but was out of spaghetti and cream. Then we started casting around for some substitutions that might work. We know that you can make carbonara without cream, but we love the added richness and smoothness that cream adds to the recipe.
Fettuccine was my first idea to use instead of the spaghetti; we love the substantial strands. This long pasta combines well with creamy sauces and really holds onto them, which is what we had in mind.
But what to use in place of cream? We had skim milk (no thanks), yogurt (no), sour cream, and... mayonnaise! It was an unusual idea, but it just might work. After all, mayonnaise is made with oil, eggs, and lemon juice; three ingredients that are delicious with pasta.
It worked! Adding a bit of mayonnaise (along with the skim milk and eggs) to the pasta produced a rich and creamy sauce with a slight tang. Some minced garlic and lots of bacon packed in more flavor, and Parmesan cheese added the finishing touch.
We do have another pasta recipe with a slightly unusual ingredient: cream cheese in tomato sauce. We might try that in place of cream next!
Serve this wonderful dish with a glass of white wine, a green salad, garlic toast, and some cooked carrots or baby peas. All you need now is a checked tablecloth and some fat candles in wine glasses; even though an Italian would probably blanch at this recipe.
- 8 slices bacon
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 (16-ounce) package fettuccine pasta
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the bacon until crisp and browned in a large pan over medium heat. Remove bacon from pan, place on paper towels to drain, then crumble. Drain most of the fat from the pan. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for about 30 seconds.
Scrape the garlic and bacon fat remaining in the pan into a small bowl.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt to flavor, then add the pasta. Stir. Cook until the pasta is just al dente, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, add the eggs, mayonnaise, milk, salt, and pepper to the bacon in the small bowl and beat well with a wire whisk until blended and smooth.
When the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving 1/3 cup cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot immediately.
Off the heat, add the mayonnaise mixture. Toss with tongs until the mixture coats the pasta, adding cooking water as needed to make a smooth sauce.
Add the Parmesan cheese and toss again and serve immediately.