06 January 2016

I Wrote Down...

...a recipe for an interested 20-something classmate after making the dish for three of us at my place who were finishing our respective theses (thesi?) and bein' all frustrated and annoyed at how school is overtaking every other part of our lives. AKA we needed comfort food, and how. I grew up eating my mom's variations on carbonara, who made it from watching my nona make it - and sometimes with her homemade pasta noodles - and it makes me think of my two best girlfrens from middle/high school requesting it when they came over for sleepovers. Eating carbonara made with good ol' bacony-bacon felt (and feels) weird and right and good, just like any good Italian-American cuisine does :)

PS, you can absoLUTEly add peas and some beautiful, sautéed little mushrooms to this, but it kinda takes away from the semi-glamorous "Oh this? I just had this stuff layin' around..." aspect of making carbonara for friends or lovahs. In dire straights, you could substitute nice, homemade bread crumbs seasoned with herbs and cooked in bacon fat (because you save some of yours, right?) for the actual bacon - and then you just made cucina povera!


Carbonara, Son:

-About 10 oz bacon or pancetta if you want to be fancy (pack of bacon's usually 10-16 oz?)
-1 onion
-2-4 cloves of garlic (depending on how much garlic breath you're okay with afterwards)
-About 1 cup of Parmesan, freshly grated (excellent excuse to buy a big hunk of nice Parm and have it in the fridge for grating or slicing for nibbles with apples or pears)
-About 16 oz spaghetti (one box usually?)
-2 eggs
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper
-1 giant bottle of red wine (optional)

Put your pasta water on high heat right at the start, and salt that ish. Cut up one onion (whatever color you have) and a few cloves of garlic.  Once your choppin's done, start cooking your bacon/pancetta/delicious salty meat on medium heat in a decent-sized frying pan.  Let it cook for a while so it renders the fat (lets the fat melt out without burning). When the bacon's crispy, transfer to some paper towels and throw the onion into the pan (maybe turn down the heat a little).  2-3 minutes later, add the garlic (it cooks faster than onion).  You want the onion/garlic to be translucent and maybe a little brown around the edges, and that'll give it time to soak up the beautiful bacon fat that you rendered (see what I did there?) from before. While that's going, grab someone to grate the parm for you, or (GAWD) do it yourself. Crunch up that bacon with the blunt side of your knife.  Then crack two eggs and mix in a small bowl or measuring cup with a pinch or two of salt and loads of black pepper dependent on your taste. Add roughly 3/4 cup of the parm to the egg and save some for sprinkling on top later. If the onion/garlic mix is done before all this, just take it off the heat and put in a bowl. 

Add the pasta to your boiling water and cook to al dente (the package'll tell ya). Once done, scoop a coffee cup of pasta-water out and set aside. Drain the pasta and add back into the pasta pot and put back on the stove on the burner you used but with the heat off.  Add a little (1/8 cup?) pasta water into the egg mixture and stir - this gets it ready to be a sauce and not scrambled eggs with pasta. Gradually add in your egg mixture and stir like a maniac. If it seems dry, throw in the warm pasta water by the spoonful and keep stirring. If it seems too wet, turn the heat to very low until it firms up.  Then put onion/garlic mix and bacon in with the pasta and stir some more.

And presto!  Dangle it lovingly down onto a plate, shower it with a little more parm  (or put it on the table for ppl to do it themselves GEEZ PPL CAN'T YOU DO ANYTHING?) and open a bottle'a red if you haven't already.  Serves about 4 hangry adults? And rest assured - these are overly-detailed instructions but I just like writing - there is almost literally no way you can take away from the delicious combo of bacon, cheese, eggs, and carbz.

<3 p="">