Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spaghetti Carbonara

Let me say that Spaghetti Carbonara has always seemed pretty nasty to me. If I am honest, I have to say that I blame the Food Network for this. It's not fair, I know. I have no evidence. It just seems like a recipe that they would try to make faster, lighter, and/or with more pizzazz and which would end up clumpy and bland. Why not blame The Olive Garden? I do not know. Maybe because I already blame them for putting meatballs in spaghetti and Chef Boyardee is already taking the heat for serving meals in a can. Maybe I feel the blame should be shared. Anyway, it turns out that when you make it correctly, Spaghetti Carbonara can actually be – sorry, I cannot stop myself from saying this word– delightful. 

Spaghetti Carbonara (from Marcella Hazan)
Serves 6
n.b., if you work with Italians, do not bring spaghetti leftovers of any kind into work to reheat in the microwave. Just don't.

1/2 pound pancetta cut into 1/2 inch slices
4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 lb spaghetti
2 eggs
1/2 ounce Romano cheese freshly grated
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese freshly grated
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

2. Cut the pancetta or bacon into strips not quite 1/4-inch wide.

3. Lightly mash the garlic with a knife handle, enough to split the cloves and loosen the skin; discard the skin. Place the garlic and olive oil in a skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When the garlic turns a deep gold, about 2 minutes, remove it and discard.

4. Place the strips of pancetta or bacon in the pan and cook until they just begin to crisp at the edges, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and let it bubble away for 1 to 2 minutes, then turn the heat off.

5. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

6. Break the eggs into the serving bowl in which you'll be tossing the pasta. Beat them lightly with a fork, then add the Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, a liberal grinding of pepper and the chopped parsley. Mix thoroughly.

7. Add the spaghetti to the bowl and toss rapidly, coating the strands well. Briefly reheat the pancetta or bacon over high heat, turn the entire contents into the bowl of spaghetti and toss thoroughly again. Serve immediately.

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