Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pasta Carbonara with Lori

Armed with an extremely small budget and a package of diced pancetta in the freezer, my friend Lori and I whipped up a dinner that made us really impressed with ourselves! Granted this was after a couple of glasses of our wonderful local Testarossa chardonnay, but I think it was a great menu, thanks to the awesome choices of produce that Lori brought from the farmer's market.

Our menu:
Pasta carbonara
Sauteed broccolini with pine nuts
Grape fruit and avocado salad (click here for recipes for the side dishes)

Pasta carbonara's sauce is made from a mixture of eggs and Parmesan cheese that cooks in the heat of the just-cooked pasta, so the eggs are not thoroughly cooked. Therefore it's important to use very fresh eggs in this dish and move quickly at the end so that the pasta is still hot enough to cook the eggs. I've seen many recipes that call for cream for this dish but it really isn't necessary.

This is not a low-fat dish but Lori had definitely deserved it after biking up several 45 degree hills to my house! And me, well, eh, anyway, here's the recipe.

Pasta Carbonara

three servings of angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti
two to three eggs - must be very fresh
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or Parmesan Reggiano)
1 1/2 cup diced pancetta (Italian bacon - as opposed to American bacon, which is smoked.)
fresh ground black pepper

In a small pan, cook the pancetta over medium heat until pancetta is crisp and has released all its fat. Drain some of the fat, saving about one to two tablespoons (or more if you really love bacon fat but I am half-heartedly trying to watch what I eat. Really half-heartedly.)

Bring enough water to boil to cook the pasta. Throw in the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7-10 minutes (you be the judge).

While the pasta is cooking, mix the eggs with the Parmesan cheese in a bowl.

As soon as the pasta is done, drain the pasta (save about a cup of pasta water in a bowl. Return the drained pasta to the still-hot pot, pour the egg-cheese mixture over the pasta immediately. Stir to combine. The egg-cheese mixture will thicken. Add a little of the pasta water you reserved if it looks too thick to you.

Add the pancetta to the pasta, mix well.

Serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper.

1 comment:

Jennie said...

wow this sounds so super easy!