Monday, April 6, 2009

Italiano, tonight?

Recipe of the day
Carbonara is a classic Roman dish of steaming-hot spaghetti, bits of crisp cooked pancetta (salt-cured unsmoked Italian bacon) and a delicate custardy coating of egg and cream. American bacon can be used, but because it is smoked, it will give the carbonara a different flavor. The traditional cheese for carbonara is Pecorino Romano, a sharp sheep's milk cheese from the region around Rome and the island of Sardinia. Parmigiano-Reggiano, a cow's milk cheese with a milder flavor, can be used, if preferred. Whatever way you make it, this is an especially easy dish for a quick supper.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Excerpted from The Good Egg: More Than 200 Fresh Approaches from Soup to Dessert

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices pancetta or thick-cut bacon, cut into G-inch pieces
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the pancetta or bacon and cook, stirring, until golden and crisp. Remove to a double layer of paper towels to drain.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and cream in a medium bowl until well blended. Set aside. Set a large colander in a serving bowl in the sink.

3. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the pasta in the colander and immediately lift it out of the bowl to drain off almost, but not quite, all the water.

4. Dump out the water from the warm bowl; blot dry. Immediately add the spaghetti, the egg mixture and cheese and toss vigorously so that the eggs cook through in the heat from the steaming pasta but do not scramble. Add a liberal grinding of pepper and top with the reserved pancetta or bacon and parsley, if desired. Serve at once with more cheese.

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until next time...

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