2 tablespoons white vinegar, for poaching the eggs
12 ounces (3/4 box) spaghetti
6 slices (about 5 ounces) thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
7 to 8 (12 ounces) small (1 1/2-inch) tomatoes, quartered
4 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, torn into pieces
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Olive oil, for garnish
• Bring two pans of water to a boil:
For the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (at least 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt). For the eggs, fill a wide saucepan with 2 inches of salted water and bring to a boil. Add the vinegar to the saucepan for the eggs.
Cook the bacon, garlic, and tomatoes while the water heats:
In a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until browned. Transfer to plate.
Add the garlic and the tomatoes, and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes, or just until the garlic turns pale golden and the tomatoes soften slightly. Remove the pan from the heat.
• Cook the spaghetti:
Add the spaghetti to the large pot of boiling water, and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, or until al dente. Remove 1 cup of the pasta water with a measuring cup.
• Poach the eggs while the pasta cooks:
Line a tray or plate with a paper towel. Adjust the heat under the saucepan so that the poaching water barely simmers.
Crack 1 egg into a small bowl or cup and, holding the rim as close to the surface of the water as possible, drop the egg into the water.
Rapidly repeat with the remaining eggs.
Drag a wooden spoon around the edge of the pot to stir the water and gently release the eggs from the bottom.
After 2 minutes, lift 1 egg from the water with a slotted spoon and test for doneness by pressing on the egg. The white should feel firm and the yolk should still be soft. Return to the water if necessary to complete the cooking. With a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the paper towel lined plate to drain the water.
Assemble the pasta:
Set the skillet with the garlic and tomatoes back over low heat. With tongs, add the cooked spaghetti. Add the cooked bacon, Parmesan, basil, salt, and pepper and toss together. If the spaghetti looks dry, add some of the reserved pasta water a few tablespoons at a time.
Divide the spaghetti among 4 plates or shallow bowls and top each with a poached egg. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, if you like.
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