I love to make Spaghetti Carbonara. Ever since I first read about the dish in Dinah Shore's first cookbook back in the early 1970s, I have been fascinated with the recipe. To make it, you cook spaghetti or linguine pasta to al dente. Meanwhile, you beat eggs with cream and Parmesan cheese and add some crisply cooked, crumbled bacon.
When the pasta is done, it is drained and immediately returned to the hot pot. The egg mixture is stirred vigorously into the hot pasta, which cooks the eggs and forms a creamy sauce. This classic dish is best eaten the second it is served, with a crisp green salad, some toasted garlic bread, and some white wine.
But I like to change things around. What about using meatballs instead of the bacon? I tried it and the recipe was a smashing success. The tender meatballs add heft and substance to this recipe without weighing it down. You could, of course, keep the bacon in this new recipe, for even more wonderful flavor.
Use frozen precooked meatballs, heated according to the package directions, for the easiest recipe (I love using meatballs made with wild rice for more flavor and texture). But, of course, you could make your own meatballs in this recipe. Either way, you will have a wonderful meal that will please most everyone ready in minutes!
- 1 16-ounce package frozen pre-cooked meatballs (or Easy Meatballs, cooked)
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 16-ounce package spaghetti pasta (or linguine pasta)
First, bring a large pot of salted water to a vigorous boil over high heat.
Then heat the meatballs as directed on the package, or bake Easy Meatballs. For this recipe, I found that heating the meatballs in the microwave oven worked best. Cover the meatballs to keep them warm and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until they are well blended. Add the cream, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, the Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper.
Beat well again and set aside.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is just al dente. That means that pasta is tender, but still slightly firm to the bite in the center.
Drain the pasta into a colander in the sink, then immediately return the pasta to the hot pot. Immediately add the egg mixture and toss with tongs until the pasta is coated. Add the meatballs and toss again. Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese for serving and eat immediately.