Well, I realize that my love for Italy has not had a chance to shine through lately, what with taking a back seat to my recent trip to Paris and all. So it is time I give Italy its fair shake. I love Italian food, and I never met a pasta dish that I didn’t like, but a dish that has about 5 ingredients or less and is not complicated to make, is a treasure in my book. So, I give you….Pasta Carbonara!
This recipe is adapted partly from a Martha Stewart Living recipe, and partly from other Italian versions I have used. I use whole wheat pasta, for the extra bite, fiber and nutritional value, but you can certainly use the traditional semolina, which of course cooks faster.
The one constant in a true Roman version of Carbonara sauce is that there is no cream. Sometimes I will add torn pieces of rotisserie chicken that I may have left over from dinner one night, just to change it up a bit.
And whatever you do, please use fresh blocks of cheese, not that pre-packaged stuff. Real cheese has so much more flavor!
You will need:
1 pound spaghetti
4 ounces pancetta, chopped or cubed
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 minced garlic cloves
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
freshly ground black pepper
How to make it:
1. Boil a pot of salted water. Add pasta, cook to al dente. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, cook pancetta in a skillet over med-high heat. Stir to make sure it does not stick. Remove with a slotted spoon when brown. Keep on the side in a bowl.
3. Reduce heat to med-low, add the oil than the garlic and cook until golden, but do not burn it! Lightly beat the eggs in the bottom of your serving bowl. When the pasta is done, add it to the skillet with the garlic and toss. Then transfer the pasta to the serving bowl with the eggs and toss. The heat of the pasta will *cook* the eggs. Add the cheese and the pancetta and toss again. Season with lots of black pepper and serve with some additional grated cheese on top.
* If you are afraid of eggs that are not fully cooked, I would tell you to pass on this dish. But for the rest of you…mmmmm good!