Make Your Own Pasta Sauce With an Unexpected Ingredient: Egg Yolks

BY America's Test Kitchen TIMESeptember 23, 2022 PRINT

The egg yolks in this dish create a velvety sauce that coats each and every piece of pasta. Heat from the pasta cooks the yolks so that they’re safe to eat, but you need to warm them up slowly or else they’ll curdle and turn into scrambled eggs.

How to do it? Add hot pasta cooking water to the egg yolks, a little bit at a time. This slowly raises the yolks’ temperature, gently cooking them. This technique is called “tempering” and it also keeps the sauce smooth — save that scramble for breakfast!

Creamy Egg-Sauce Pasta

Serves 2

Note: You can substitute 6 ounces of any short pasta shape for the farfalle; however, the cup measurements will vary: use 2 cups of ziti, 2 cups of penne, or 2 1/3 cups of medium shells.

1 quart water

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 ounce), plus extra for serving

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

2 1/2 cups (6 ounces) farfalle pasta

3/4 teaspoon table salt

1. In a large saucepan, bring water to boil over high heat.

2. While water heats, in a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, Parmesan, garlic powder, and mustard powder until well combined.

3. Add pasta and salt to boiling water. Cook, stirring frequently, until pasta is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off heat.

4. Use a ladle to carefully transfer 1/4 cup pasta cooking water to a liquid measuring cup. Drain pasta in a colander. Return drained pasta to the now-empty saucepan.

5. Add 1 tablespoon reserved cooking water to egg yolk mixture and whisk until well combined. Repeat 2 more times with 2 more tablespoons of reserved cooking water, whisking thoroughly after each addition.

6. Pour warm egg yolk mixture into a saucepan with pasta. Use a wooden spoon to stir constantly for 30 seconds. Cover saucepan with lid and let pasta sit for 1 minute.

7. Remove lid and stir pasta constantly again until sauce thoroughly coats pasta and is thickened, about 30 seconds. If needed, add remaining cooking water until sauce is loosened slightly and coats pasta well. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan.

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