Bacon Spinach and Artichoke Carbonara

This delicious recipe for Bacon Spinach and Artichoke Carbonara comes from my son, Erik.  Always inventive, Erik likes to experiment with flavors he loves... this recipe has plenty of garlic... a little bacon, fresh spinach and some bottled (or canned) artichokes... tossed with some pasta and a Carbonara sauce... and finished off with some Pecorino Romano cheese... just delicious!
He chose an interesting pasta shape... Dischi Volanti... which literally means flying discs... any pasta shape you want will work with this dish.
This dish comes together quickly but requires a little multitasking... Erik's biggest tip is ... prep everything ahead so you have all the ingredients handy while you are actually doing the cooking.
Have a large bowl near the stove.. as you finish cooking some of the ingredients dump them into the bowl.. this way.. when you do the final toss everything is right there.
He used a lot of garlic... you can use less.. if you prefer... he advises to slice it very thin...  his exact words... super thin.
The directions will tell you to remove the bacon grease then add a bit of olive oil... you may ask why...  bacon grease is quite heavy and.. well .. greasy.. using olive oil to cook the artichokes with the remaining bits of bacon grease in the pan will give the bacon flavor and reduce some of the greasy feel to the dish.
Keep a liquid measuring cup close by.. you will need to reserve a cup of pasta water before draining the pasta... the starch from the pasta goes into the water.. and the starch helps to thicken the sauce..
This recipe will make about 3-4 servings.
An impressive, yet easy dish to make!

Recipe:  Bacon Spinach and Artichoke Carbonara
All you need:
1/2 pound Dischi Volanti Pasta *See TIPS
About 4 cups fresh spinach
2 large garlic cloves, sliced very thin
1 tablespoon butter
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 can or bottle artichokes, quartered
Olive oil
2 whole eggs, beaten
1 egg white, beaten with the whole eggs
* Season the beaten eggs with salt and pepper
Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
All you need to do:
Put your pot with water for the pasta on to boil.  Boil pasta according to package directions.
*** Be sure to reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining the pasta
Meanwhile, while the pasta water is getting hot and ready to boil and then your pasta is cooking... you want your ingredients to finish cooking the same time you are finishing cooking the pasta.
In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat and add the garlic, sauté the garlic for 30 seconds or so... just to infuse the flavor into the butter... remove with a slotted spoon and put into a large bowl (this is not a serving bowl... you are just keeping the cooked items until the final toss).
Add the spinach to the skillet and cook until just wilted... it will cook down considerably... remove from the pan and put into your bowl.
Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until most of the fat is rendered and it is fairly crispy but not hard.  Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl.  Remove the bacon grease as much as possible with a spoon. *See TIPS
Add a little olive oil to the just coat the pan and then add the artichokes.  Cook until the artichokes are broken up about 5 minutes.  Add to the bowl.
*** Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the cooked pasta.  Add the pasta water to the skillet to deglaze the pan and scrape off all those tasty cooked bits off the bottom..
Place the hot pasta pot on a cold burner.. you do not want it over heat... but the pot should be very hot from cooking the pasta... add the pasta water and the eggs, whisking very very fast so they do not scramble but come together in a smooth sauce...
Add the pasta back into the pot and the contents of your bowl... and toss.  Sprinkle the Pecorino over the contents and toss again...
Serve in bowls.

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