Carbonara for Food Revolution Day 2014

My kids are frequently in the kitchen with me, and conversations about where our food comes from and how to prepare it healthfully and deliciously is part of our family fabric. Today is Food Revolution Day, and this year's message from Jamie Oliver really hits home: "I believe that it's every child's right to be taught about food, how to cook it and how it affects their bodies. Without this fundamental knowledge, they'll grow up without the skills or even the desire to eat better." Beyond the knowledge, I want food and food preparation to be fun for my kids. I'm excited for them to try new flavors and develop their palates and taste preferences. Experimenting in the kitchen exposes them to new flavors and helps to free them of inhibition to taste new foods. It also sends a message that setting aside the time to prepare real, whole foods is a family priority. I'm thrilled that Jamie Oliver has been so successful with Food Revolution Day; it is now celebrated in 117 countries! 

Today I've come across loads of events, recipes and blog posts recognizing Food Revolution Day. I absolutely loved this one by Bettina Elias Siegel of The Lunch Tray about home cooking as a political act and agree wholeheartedly with her when she says "I want them to learn by osmosis that we don't need Big Food to feed us, and that we can actually do a better job when we take back control of the cooking."

Today in honor of Food Revolution Day, my kids and I made Pasta Carbonara - a family favorite. This recipe has four ingredients. Three ingredients for my littlest one, who is dairy free and therefore eats the version without cheese.  

 pasta, eggs, bacon, parmesan. 

pasta, eggs, bacon, parmesan. 

First, we boiled the water to cook the pasta. The classic carbonara is all about spaghetti but my kids love this twirly shape best. Meanwhile, we fried up the bacon. I use Applegate's organic Sunday uncured bacon and I like to put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes before making this recipe so that it's easy to chop before frying. 

When the pasta is done cooking, I reserved 1/2 cup of the pasta water to use in the recipe (full recipe below). My daughter added it to the bacon and then added the cooked, drained pasta. 

I added the eggs and stirred quickly to incorporate them into the pasta without making scrambled eggs. I set a portion aside for my littlest one. My older kids then added cheese and stirred. Yum! Because the pan is still hot, the cheese melts beautifully. 

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This dish is easy to make with kids in the kitchen. It uses simple, real, pronounceable ingredients. And it's a crowd pleaser! 

Pasta Carbonara
1 pound of dry pasta
4 large eggs
8 ounces of bacon, chopped
1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan
pepper to taste
salt for boiling water
 

Method
Boil the pasta in salted water as directed, until it's al dente. While the pasta cooks, fry the bacon in a pan over medium heat for approximately 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, crack the eggs and lightly beat them. Set aside. In another small bowl, grate the parmesan. When the pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water before draining. 

Turn the heat back on to medium on the bacon pan. Add the reserved pasta water and stir. Add the cooked pasta and continue stirring until the water has evaporated and the bacon is evenly distributed. Take the pan off the heat again. Let sit for one minute. The pan will still be hot. Add the eggs slowly and mix quickly to thicken the sauce and to prevent the eggs from scrambling. At this point, you can add black pepper to taste for a dairy free version of carbonara. Otherwise, add the grated parmesan and stir well to combine. The cheese should melt immediately into a rich, creamy delicious sauce. 

Serve immediately. (this recipe serves 4-6 people)

Happy Food Revolution Day!