Duck Carbonara

We are great fans of spaghetti carbonara.  We like it with many different types of bacon, pancetta, prosciutto, even lamb bacon.  The other day, I came across, for the first time, duck bacon.  I immediately thought of carbonara.  Not exactly the quintessential 'Fat Tuesday' meal, but it does fulfill the 'fat' part.  I wasn't sure how the duck bacon would taste, but we do have the eggs and Parmigiano Reggiano to fall back on, and I have plenty of that left over from last week's risotto experiment.  Writing on this makes me wonder why I never made carbonara with the duck prosciutto I made a couple years ago.  Opportunity lost.  

This recipe is the pretty much the same as a traditional carbonara, just substitute the duck bacon for the pancetta or regular bacon.

1 pound dry spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon duck fat
6 ounces duck bacon, cut into ¼ to ½ inch strips
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 large organic eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus additional for serving
freshly ground black pepper
a few tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid to add to the sauce.

While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and duck fat in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the duck bacon until it is crispy.  I added the duck fat because the duck bacon did not have any fat to render.  It looked more like ham than bacon.  Turn heat down to medium low and add the garlic and sauté until just softened, about 1 minute.

Whisk the eggs and then add the Parmigiano to them.  Add a couple pinches of salt.  Stir to remove any clumps. 

Add the hot, drained pasta to the bacon pan and toss to coat.  Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg mixture into the pasta tossing the pasta until the eggs thicken.  If the pasta is too hot, the eggs will scramble, but you do want the past to be hot enough to just slightly cook the eggs.  Thin out the sauce a bit with the reserved cooking liquid.  You may not need all of the liquid, just enough so the pasta is not dry.  

Finish the carbonara with freshly ground black pepper and garnish with the parsley.  Serve the spaghetti with additional Parmigiano Reggiano on the side.  Delicious, but not very ducky.  I would have liked more duck flavor from the duck bacon, but the spaghetti was excellent nonetheless.  I will have to make some duck prosciutto again to use with carbonara.


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