Friday, February 25, 2011

Raw Eggs For Dinner

Last night's dinner was Linguine Carbonara. Carbonara is made with raw eggs, which makes some people nervous--I get that. Technically, the eggs do cook, they just don't cook like you normally think of preparing eggs. But it's also not like cracking an egg open and drinking it down. It's like when you order eggs over easy in a restaurant, and the menu has that safety warning to cover its butt liability-wise, but hundreds of people eat them that way every day and never have a problem.

I originally made this dish using a recipe from the cookbook Trattoria Cooking by Biba Caggiano. I'm sure how I make it has changed somewhat since I first made it from the recipe, but it's essentially the same. You need eggs, garlic, red pepper flakes, pancetta, and Parmesan. For 2 people, I cook 2 ounces of pancetta with 2 or more minced garlic cloves. Once the pancetta is cooked, you set it aside until the rest of the dish is finished. While the pasta is cooking, (about 2 ounces, dry, per person) I beat two eggs (medium or 1 x-large) with some red pepper flakes and a little salt & pepper. You don't need too much salt because the Parmesan and pancetta add some saltiness to the dish.

When the pasta is cooked, I drain it then put it back in the pot. I take some of the hot noodles and put them in the dish with the eggs, stirring to warm the eggs up a bit. If you don't warm up the eggs before adding them to the hot noodles, you end up with noodles with scrambled eggs in them--not good. After warming the eggs with some of the noodles, quickly stir the egg/noodle mixture into the rest of the hot noodles, stirring vigorously, so the hot noodles heat up the eggs. Next stir in the pancetta and garlic then some Parmesan. Serve topped with a little more Parmesan. This dish is delicious and really easy to make.

Now for the safety warning: You do need to be careful though, because the eggs are not fully cooked. If you are pregnant, have a compromised immune system, or aren't confident in the safety and freshness of your eggs, you probably shouldn't make this.


  1. I need pictures :) I have never eaten an egg like this....I don't think I have LOL

  2. I added a photo of the dish above.

  3. If the dish is a little too "eggy" for you, try adding a couple of tablespoons of milk or half & half to the beaten egg before mixing it with the pasta. Also, as an update, the last few times I've made this, I changed the technique just a bit. Instead of adding some of the hot noodles to the egg before pouring it into the noodles, I mix just a bit of the pasta water into the beaten eggs, 1 - 2 tablespoons per egg (you don't want it too watery). This heats up the egg nicely and makes it mix in with the pasta better without getting the scrambled egg effect.