Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spaghetti alla Carbonara - Christmas Dinner's Main dish

Christmas Dinner Part Two - or the main dish.  Beginning the meal with Cioppino gave me license to go crazy for the main dish - and crazy we went with the very rich Spaghetti alla Carbonara. 

Salty pancetta, loads of parmesan cheese and a sauce of creamy eggs makes carbonara an absolute treat to make and eat.  The addition of whisked eggs to the hot pasta makes a creamy sauce that tastes amazing and has a mouth feel like no other. 

For a recipe I went with the master, Marcella Hazan.  Now I'm not sure if this was a mistake on my part or if the recipe was not to my liking, but I thought there was too much pancetta in relation to the pasta and sauce.  Which is a good thing for you.  Because pancetta is pricy.  So buy less!
Amazingly, it is even better day 2 and 3 as leftovers! 

As a side note, I discovered the influence Food Network has on our culture when my 19 year old niece asked if I would be "tempering" the eggs - my novice foodie brain did not know that term when I was 19!

Spaghetti all Carbonara (More Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan)
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1  2/3-lb. chunk pancetta, cut into 1/2"-long strips
2/3 cup white wine
1 lb. dried spaghetti
2/3 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano
1/4 cup finely grated pecorino-romano
2 tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook until golden, about 1 minute. Remove and discard garlic.

2. Add pancetta; cook until edges are crisp, 5–6 minutes. Add white wine; simmer until thickened, 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water. In a large bowl, whisk together parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino-romano, parsley, and eggs. Slowly drizzle in reserved pasta water while whisking constantly. Add spaghetti along with reserved pancetta mixture. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Toss to combine.

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