Spaghetti with Butter, Egg, and Cheese
The plan was dinner and a movie with the whole family, a rare occasion these days and one I’d been excited about. Halfway through the evening, however, one of the kids — who hadn’t felt great to begin with — took a turn for the worse and I found myself back home tucking her into bed and wondering what I was going to fix for dinner. A craving for comfort food combined with a bare pantry landed me on today’s recipe, one I hadn’t made in ages. In no time, I was crossed legged on the couch with a bowl of this pasta in my lap, thinking, “why don’t I make this more often?”
A Pasta for Everyone
Spaghetti with Butter, Egg, and Cheese is an easy fix for nights when supper needs to get done and you’re short on supplies. A crowd-pleaser and kid-pleaser, it’s essentially spaghetti carbonara’s pork-free cousin. The whole thing gets done in the same vessel used to cook the spaghetti, the heat of pot and pasta effectively cooking the egg onto the noodles.
A Bowl of Comfort
This is just the sort of dish to make when comfort is in order: when someone comes home with reports of a broken promise, or a broken ankle, or perhaps when they’re older, a broken heart.
It’s the meal we ate when I was a girl visiting cousins whose house was always alive with children, pets, noise, and the smell of something good happening at the stove. The dining table, which filled the better part of the kitchen, was crowded with too many of us to reasonably fit; a giant pot of this spaghetti usually at its center. The pasta was always devoured: shoveled into mouths rather than eaten with any semblance of manners.
Worth Passing On
The recipe is from my aunt, who learned it from her mother, a native of Italy. It’s since been passed on to my cousins, and their children, to me and my children…and now you. It’s well worth sharing. And much as I’m prone to tinker with recipes in an attempt to lighten them up or work in more vegetables or experiment with whole-grain pasta, Butter, Egg, and Cheese should be left entirely alone. Get your added nourishment from generous salads and steamed vegetables on the side. Those Italian grandmothers knew what they were doing with this one.
Spaghetti with Butter, Egg and Cheese
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 3/4 cup milk, plus more if needed
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more to pass at the table (substitute Parmesan, if desired)
- Pepper to taste
Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of generously salted water.
While the spaghetti cooks, whisk together the milk and egg in a small bowl.
Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain.
Put the drained pasta back into the cooking pot. Turn the heat to low, add the milk/egg mixture and butter, and stir just until the milk thickens and coats the noodles, a minute or so.
Remove from heat. Add the cheese and stir again. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. If the pasta gets too sticky, thin it with a little more milk.
Serve immediately with more Pecorino Romano at the table.