Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." ~ Fellini

I love pasta so much that I used to think I was Italian in a previous life, reincarnated as a Norwegian/German/Russian Jew. How did that happen??

After Tom and I got married and when the kids were growing up, I think the only pasta I cooked was spaghetti and lasagna. They were economical, easy to prepare, filling and tasty. But, as the boys hit their teens, we began to venture out more, culinarily (is that even a word?) speaking. When I returned to the workforce in the late 70's and early 80's, Tom also started cooking more and Italian food, including pasta, is simple fare and easy to prepare. It was right up his alley.

One day at the mall, Tom came across this book.

It has been a treasured volume in our cookbook collection ever since.

The only recipe in this book that I have ever prepared is the Bolognese Sauce on page 12. This has been essentially Tom's cookbook and he has prepared the majority of the recipes and I can't think of one dish that we haven't really liked. A few of our favorites, though, are Penne with Sausage & Peas, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca and Spaghetti Carbonara.

I've been in kind of a funk lately. We've had so much rain, very little warm weather and basically dreary skies. Although temperatures have remained constant in the 60's and 70's and don't dip particularly low, I still feel like I need comfort food. Enter Spaghetti Carbonara. Bacon...and cheese...and eggs, oh my!

Granted, this is not a dish you would want to serve every week. It is loaded with fat and cholesterol. But eating this pasta is like putting on sweats and fuzzy socks and sitting by the fireplace on a cold winter day. It's that good.

When Tom cooks, he is usually faithful to the recipe. The only change he made to this recipe is the addition of a little cream. I have added that to the recipe, but in italics. The rest of the recipe original to the book.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
(Spaghetti Charcoal Vendor's Style)
adapted from 99 Ways to Cook Pasta
by Flora and Robert Alda

2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon freshly grated parmigiano cheese
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 scallions, finely chopped
3/4 pound lean bacon, diced
1 pound spaghetti
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 pound parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
2 Tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt, 1 Tablespoon cheese and heavy cream. Set aside.

In a small skillet, heat the oil and lightly brown the scallions. Add the bacon and sauté until well done but not too crisp. Turn off the flame and let stand.

Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water (only 1 Tablespoon salt is needed here) until a moment less than al dente. (You will be reheating it in a few minutes when you blend in the other ingredients.) Drain well. Melt the butter in the spaghetti pot over a low flame and return the spaghetti to the pot. Mix in the bacon and scallions and stirring well with a wooden fork and add the egg/cheese/cream mixture. Keep tossing constantly over a low flame while adding the 1/4 pound of cheese and the pepper. Within a couple of minutes, at the first sign of the eggs cooking and the sauce is thickening, the pasta will be done. Serve from the pot into warmed pasta bowls.

Serves 4 to 6.

1 comment:

Private Chef said...

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