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Pasta alla carbonara

Holy heck.  Has it really been over a month since the last post?  Yowsers.  What a busy holiday season we had!  We had family in town for nearly the whole month of December.  It was lovely but busy.  Somehow winter’s cold hadn’t really sunk in for me until this week.  (Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I am now working the day shift at the restaurant and find myself standing on the windy BART platform at 6:15am? It is at that tired, chilly hour that my cheery optimism takes a momentary dip!)

So on a recent evening when January’s chill had set in our bones**, Scott made a big bowl of spaghetti carbonara. We proceeded to eat the whole thing save for about three bites which we told ourselves would be for the next day’s lunch, simply so we could go to sleep convinced that we are not actually complete gluttons!

** (I apologize to all you north-east coasters… I am, after all, a soft Californian)

Scott’s spaghetti alla carbonara
serves 4

I think many people shy away from making carbonara because of the raw eggs that get folded in at the end.  It seems a little fussy.  But try it- you’ll like it!

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 ounces pancetta or guanciale, minced
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • finely grated pecorino romano to taste (I didn’t measure this(!) but I’m guessing it was about 4 ounces)

In a medium saute pan set over medium heat,add the olive oil and pancetta and render the pancetta until it begins to release it’s fat.  Add the diced onion and cook gently until the onion is translucent and the pancetta is just beginning to crisp.  Separately, place the egg yolks, pecorino, and black pepper in a large bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in salted water.  Before the spaghetti is done, remove 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set aside. When the spaghetti is al dente, drain it and toss with the onion-pancetta mixture.

Be prepared to stir with a wooden spoon and add about 3/4 of the reserved pasta cooking-water to the bowl containing the egg yolks and cheese.  This will become the sauce.  Stir quickly to loosen and temper the egg yolks. (Tempering the eggs makes them less likely to scramble when you add the hot pasta).

Again, be prepared to stir quickly.  Add the hot spaghetti mixture to the egg/cheese bowl and stir quickly so that the egg mixture evenly coats the spaghetti.  Add a little more of the reserved cooking-water to loosen the sauce slightly if necessary.

Serve immediately, topping with more freshly grated pecorino.

Enjoy!

 

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