October 10, 2009

Spaghetti Carbonara

It rained all day Thursday. I mean, it POURED. Rain. All day.

There was so much water that the street in between the two buildings of the school where I teach flooded, and we had to keep our first hour classes until the water went down. Thus, cutting into my prep period. ALL WORK AND NO PREP MAKES KELLY A DULL GIRL.

Still, it continued to storm ALL DAY. Do you know what that kind of weather does to a productive school environment? DESTROYS IT.

So, the day was a wash (pun intended). And after an otherwise drama-filled week at work, I was ready to RELAX that night.

And then, I came to discover that the roof was leaking, causing the plaster in the extra bedroom to flake & fall off. And the basement was leaking water, completely soaking the dirty clothes pile in the laundry room down there.

Rain + flooding + much-needed relaxation = CARBONARA (which my friend Ashby says is Italian for "Fuck it, let's eat.")

I've attempted carbonara before, but I wasn't very happy about the results.  It was more of a make-shift dish, instead of an authentic carbonara. For that recipe, I added the cooked pasta & beaten eggs to the pan with the bacon (off the heat, of course).  This did not result in the creamy sauce I think of when I think of carbonara.  

After reading many recipes, I've come to the conclusion that THERE IS NO CREAM IN CARBONARA.  There's just eggs, Parmesan cheese, bacon, noodles, salt, pepper, & parsley....and you have to add the pasta & bacon to the eggs in a bowl so that you don't actually scramble the eggs. You have to heat them gently with the heat from the pasta to create that creamy, delicate sauce.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Serves 2

1/2 pound spaghetti noodles, boiled as directed
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Kosher salt
Coarsely-ground black pepper
  • While the pasta water is coming to a boil, cook the bacon until just crisp. You don't want it too overdone. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
  • Break the eggs into a serving bowl. Whisk in the cheese. Set aside.
  • When the pasta is cooked, add 1/8 cup of the pasta water to the eggs & whisk. Then, add the drained pasta. Toss to combine.
  • Cover the bowl & let sit for about 5 minutes. Stir the noodles again. The sauce should have thickened & coated the pasta. You don't want clumps of scrambled eggs.
  • Add the bacon & parsley. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
My favorite beverage with carbonara? CHAMPAGNE! The slightly sweet bubbles help cut the richness of the bacon & eggs sauce.

1 comment:

mac said...

I made some carbonara a few weeks back for the first time. After researching several recipes, I moved forward with "my version". Many of the recipes I read did not include cream but a few did. I went ahead and put just a touch, maybe 1/8 cup? to go with 1lb of pasta. You're exactly right about the heating of the egg/cheese/cream mixture. It has to be done by the hot noodles. I was either really good or really lucky because the sauce came out creamy and smooth. I also opted for both parm and romano cheeses and sauteed shallots and garlic in the bacon/guanciale grease. Honestly, having never made it before, I was really surprised how easy it was.