Posts Tagged ‘Cheese’

Pasta alla Carbonara

The eggs and cheese create a luxuriant, rich, and creamy pasta sauce.  Bonus:  Leftovers can be refrigerated in a baking dish and baked the following day, the result which tastes like the world’s best baked mac n’ cheese.

  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup grated romano cheese, at room temperature, plus more for serving
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil (If you have a particularly fatty cut of pancetta you may not need the oil at all)
  • 1/4-1/2 lb. diced pancetta, guanciale or bacon
  • 1 lb. pasta, cooked in salted water according to directions until “al dente” (Our favorite is fresh fettucine)
  • Approximately 1/2 cup reserved pasta water (You may need to add more or less liquid; add slowly until the sauce reaches a creamy consistency)
  • Optional:  1/2 cup white wine (If you use the wine, cut out the corresponding amount of pasta water)
  • Optional:  1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced if sautéing or minced if adding raw as a finishing ingredient
  • Optional:  handful chopped Italian parsley
  • Optional:  black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil and sauté the meat until until it is browned and the fat has rendered. If you want the optional garlic cooked, you can add the slices once the meat is nearly finished.  Set aside.  Ps. I’ve seen recipes that the include the hot cooking fat as part of the cream sauce; others only using the pancetta bits at the end:  Your choice.  Personally, I find this dish to be heavy enough so I only use the browned pancetta bits.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and cheese. Set aside.

Cook the pasta in salted water according to directions until “al dente.” Working quickly, start by adding about 1/2 cup of the pasta water or wine into the egg-cheese mixture until a creamy sauce forms.  Using tongs, remove the pasta from the boiling water and immediately add to sauce.   Toss until coated along with the meat and any other optional ingredients. If the sauce it too thick, add some more of the reserved pasta sauce.  Serve immediately and pass additional cheese alongside.

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Ps. This is one of those raw or undercooked egg recipes.  You know the risks and warnings, right?

Almond Romano Pesto and a Nod to Pestos in General

Got herbs in your garden or CSA? Make pesto! There’s much room for creativity, it’s marvelous and versatile stuff, and stores for weeks in the refrigerator.

The Basics…

  • 1 Bunch of Leafy Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Arugula, Oregano, etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp Nuts (Pine Nuts, Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, etc.)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup hard cheese (Parmigiana, Romano, Asiago, etc.)

Almond Romano Pesto

  • 1 bunch Parsely
  • 1 Tbsp Almonds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cups olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese

Toss it all into the food processor and process until it becomes a paste. Step back and smell the herbs. Your whole house will now smell fresh and green. Happy sigh. Add more olive oil if it’s too thick. Store in a lidded jar with a layer of olive oil, which will help it keep its bright color. Use it on pastas, in sandwiches, and on bruschetta, which is an Italian-style toast.

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When you’re ready to use, scoop out what you need, making sure the layer of olive oil is still enough to cover.

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