Carbonara with Black Forest Bacon and Arugula

Carbonara with Black Forest Bacon and Arugula

Carbonara with Black Forest Bacon and Arugula

Nutrition at a glance

  • Arugula is a bitter green.  Like many leafy green vegetables, arugula is rich in vitamin K.
  • Bacon is high in saturated fat and should probably not be eaten regularly or in excess.  But including it in a pasta dish like a carbonara is a great use as it provides rich flavor to the dish without having to use too much.
  • Pasta, once the backbone of an active diet, is no doubt under attack.  Regardless of where you stand on issues of gluten and grain, know that enriched pasta is not entirely void of nutrients.  It contains good amounts of energy-metabolism supporting b-vitamins like thiamin, niacin, and folate, as well the minerals as iron, manganese, and selenium.

I find it a little ironic that when creating recipes for a food site dedicated to healthy, active lifestyle, I feel a tinge of guilt or reservation when making pasta dishes (notice the lack…).  This is a food that has fueled athletes for decades, and powered civilizations for centuries.  Though I will be the first to admit (as I chomp on leftover lentils and salmon) that I do not eat refined carbohydrates on a regular basis or in excess, I quite happily eat things like sourdough bread and pasta when I so please.  I have read up on some of the literature regarding the introduction of grain into the human diet, and fully recognize the criticisms against it from a biological and historical perspective.  But in talking with some of my medical friends, it seems that like with most things in the body, sensitivity to gluten happens on a spectrum – and I don’t seem to be anywhere near the “affected” end.  Plus I really like sourdough bread and eat lots of fruits and vegetables otherwise.

Anyway, this pasta dish is good, so if you aren’t scared of gluten and don’t have qualms with consuming refined carbohydrates from time to time (I try not to eat too many carbohydrates unless I am in a particularly active phase), give it a try.  Carbonaras are not something I have made all too often – but I really like them.  They can be heavy, yes, but this one is not bad.  There are only two eggs in the sauce, and a fairly light dusting of Parmesan cheese, which gram for gram actually has about twice as much protein as it does fat.  The sharp bitterness of the chopped arugula really goes will with the Parmesan.  I made this pasta after a big day on the mountain bike last weekend and was happy to have the carbohydrates to put back in the system.  The saltiness from the Parmesan was welcomed after a few hours of riding in the heat as sodium has been shown to help post-workout rehydration (accompanied by drinking water, of course).

A word to the wise – adding the egg-sauce to your finished carbonara takes good timing.  Too hot and the eggs will scramble.  Too cool and they eggs won’t cook.  My advice is to err on the side of cool (definitely do not add the egg sauce while the pan is still on heat!).


  • 6 oz conchiglie pasta (or other shell or fat, short tube)
  • 2 pieces black forest bacon (or other thick cut bacon)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 C dry white wine
  • 1/3 C chopped arugula
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Black and crushed red pepper

Total time:  25 minutes

Serves:  3-4

To start, beat the eggs and mix in grated Parmesan.  Set aside

Cook the pasta in salted water with a little olive oil a medium pot until al dente.  Once cooked, drain and set aside.  While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until crisped.  Remove from heat, discard about half of the bacon grease, and chop bacon strips.  Add the diced onion to the skillet containing the bacon grease and cook about 4 minutes.  Add the white wine and cook until reduced.  Return the bacon to the skillet and bring over medium heat.

Add the cooked pasta to the bacon-onion mix and bring over medium high heat until it is hot enough to cook the eggs, but won’t scramble them.  Being conscious of how hot the skillet it, add the egg-Parmesan mixture and stir to combine, allowing eggs to cook.  Thin sauce with water to desired consistency.  Mix in the chopped arugula and season entire dish with salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste.


Recipe ID: 1690

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Arugula,Black Forest Bacon,Carbonara,Cooking,Recipes