Vicki’s food column: mom’s carbonara pasta


– 1 package of spaghetti
– 1/3 bunch Italian parsley
– 1 pack of cheddar (or other shredded cheese)
– 1/2 package of bacon
– 5 eggs
– 2 lobster tails
– Black pepper to taste
– A splash of milk

The recipe I decided to replicate this week is one of my favourites, carbonara. My mom used to make it throughout my childhood, and it’s one that I’ve made countless times before. Once again, I found myself in the presence of starchy grocery products. I struggled to reasonably estimate the appropriate amount necessary to cook a sufficient meal for three.

A traditional Italian dish, carbonara is usually made with parmesan or pecorino cheese. I’m more partial to cheddar, so that’s the one I use. It also usually calls for guanciale (pork cheek) or pancetta, but regular bacon is an acceptable substitute. If you want to make this a healthier option, skip the heavy cream that traditional carbonara calls for and use milk instead.

I worked at a restaurant that served its carbonara with lobster in it, and after seeing lobster tails on sale at Loblaws, I decided to give it a try for myself. I don’t encourage buying a whole lobster, or even buying it at all, unless it’s discounted.

Typically, the lobster tails are the ones on sale, and they’re usually raw. Extracting the meat can be tricky, but I’ve come up with a pretty seamless way to do it. You flip the tail shell-side down, and using kitchen shears, cut two parallel slits down either side of the tail. Peel the translucent underside (where all the little feet are), which gives you access to all of that yummy lobster meat.

Cut that into little chunks, and throw it into the frying pan. Seafood typically doesn’t take long, so make sure things don’t get crispy. While the pasta cooked, I whipped up the eggs with the shredded cheese and parsley, and fried up the bacon. My mom used to drain some of the bacon grease out of the pan before tossing the pasta in it, but I prefer to think the more bacon flavour, the better. It also means you don’t need additional salt.

Once the pasta has been drained and thrown into the bacon pan, turn down the heat to a low simmer. The goal isn’t to fry the noodles, but to keep things warm enough for the egg and cheese mixture to cook onto the spaghetti. Once the mixture and pasta are combined, stir slowly, ensuring that all of the ingredients are well blended.

Difficulty: 6.4/10
Guest Rating: 8.5/10

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