Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Food June/July '09: The Egg Part 3: Carbonara
Marcella Hazan, the goddess of Italian cooking, in her masterpiece The Essentials of Italian Cooking passes along an Italian food history legend. American soldiers in the final days of World War II would ask local families whom they had befriended to make them a pasta sauce from a favorite American combination - eggs and bacon. The results are a disaster for my rear end but heaven for the mouth - Carbonara. This recipe is a simple version of Marcella's with a slightly different cheese flavor. Great to serve at a dinner party with fresh tagliatelle where the whole meal can be cooked in 15 minutes. On a weeknight, dried boxed spaghetti is a house fav. and it just takes a bit longer to cook dried pasta. Serve with a simple side salad of arugula - the sharpness will break up the heavy feel of the pasta.
1 pound pasta - fresh or dried
1/2 lb. aged pancetta or slab bacon
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup Parmesan - grated
1/4 cup Romano grated
1/4 cup Asiago grated
pepper to taste
fresh oregano to serve
Put up a pot of boiling water for your pasta. Dice three fresh garlic cloves. Slice pancetta or slab bacon into small long cubes, much like a julienne. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat, add garlic and cook stirring for 3o seconds. Raise the heat to medium high and add the pancetta, stirring frequently until slightly crispy and the fat is rendering off the pork - roughly five minutes. Turn the heat to high and add the white wine, deglazing the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the juicy bits off the pan. Let cook on medium low until the wine is nearly halved - essentially creating a thicker consistency reduction.
While the wine is reducing, and you are cooking the pasta, Take the bowl you are serving the pasta in and add three eggs, beating lightly, and all the three cheeses as well as fresh pepper. Drain the pasta and add to the serving bowl, pouring the bacon and wine on top and toss. I like to add fresh oregano to garnish. DO NOT salt before tasting - between the pancetta and the cheese it should already be salty.