Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

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?

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Of Asphalt and Chestnut Honey

I’ve had a honey epiphany.  As a consumer of our local liquid amber, I’ve seen variations of flavor and color over the seasons and years, but always sweet and delicious.  Except, of course, for that memorable year when the town paved the roads and the honey had, let’s call it, um, distinctive asphalt notes.

Here’s the amazing discovery.  I made a recipe from a friend that required Italian chestnut honey.  I was assured that it was integral to the recipe and to forget about local, get on the Internet, and order me some.  Fine.  It arrived.  I opened it.  Took a sniff.  Bleck.  Had it gone bad in transit?  I then read the label, which described it as (and I quote) “ideal for who don’t like very sweet flavour honey.” I took a lick.  Double bleck!  Had I just been poisoned by the infamous Internet Tuscan honey mafia? More reading… The site Serious Eats describes chestnut honey as “not for the timid palate” and “Dark and spicy, with touches of smoke and leather, chestnut honey is complex, mysterious, and nuanced.”  Yup, that about sums it up.  Leather and smoke.  But in defense, it did impart a distinct and magnificent flavour to the recipe.

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Bottom line… I had no idea that honey could be so variable, which makes me want to embark on my dream beekeeping project even more.  But, after the great rooster disaster of 2012, I’m not eager to once again mix toddlers and talons until the kids are much older.

Ps.  Welcome back! It’s been ages since my last post because our family welcomed a new addition to our ranks.  Priorities, now.  So as baby sits by me and assists with “yayayayayayaYAyaya” we can now find the time to get back to hobby blogging about our minifarm.

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