1/4 lb guanciale (pancetta or bacon would work as well)
1 lb spaghetti
2 large handfuls baby spinach
Splash of extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper to taste
Start by putting a large pot of salted water on to boil and heating a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add a splash of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet while it heats. Meanwhile, chop the guanciale, pancetta or bacon. Add the meat to the heated pan to slowly brown. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them with a fork.
Organic eggs + kitchen assistant bouncing away in background.
When the pot of water comes to a roiling boil, add the spaghetti, which should take 8-10 minutes to cook to al dente. During the last two minutes of cooking, throw the spinach in with the pasta. Drain the pasta and spinach into a colander, reserving a half-cup of the cooking liquid (I find it is easiest to do this by dipping a Pyrex measuring cup into the pot before draining it). Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and place it on paper towels to drain.
Toss the pasta and spinach with the rendered fat from the meat. Add the reserved cooking water and continue tossing. Add the beaten eggs to the warm pasta, tossing quickly to combine the egg with the pasta before it can overcook. Ideally, the egg forms more of a silky sauce than a soft scramble, but honestly it is good either way. Finish the dish with grated parmesan cheese and copious amounts of fresh ground pepper.
Oh, this was just so, so, so good. Like a hug from an Italian grandma. This is the kind of meal that makes you linger and chat as you go back for seconds (and thirds), which was exactly what we did. And this also earned high marks from the husband as a leftovers-lunch. This recipe would serve 4 hungry people, or a couple with a couple lunches to spare, which is just how we like it around here.