Spaghetti alla Carbonara
I did my weekly grocery shopping this morning and bought quail and free-range chicken eggs as usual. Our weekly consumption of eggs is very high and Hub worries about our cholesterol levels. But the kids (and myself) love eggs and we are ready to cut down on our meat consumption and eat eggs instead - prepared in different ways.
When I was holding the cartons of eggs in my hands, I suddenly had a craving for Spaghetti alla Carbonara - something I used to make alot and that I have stopped making ever since we moved to Italy. The eggs are fresh and this dish requires them raw, so today is the best time to make it.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara (serves 4) :
2 large eggs + 2 yolks
200g parmesan or pecorino romano cheese (grated)
A very good pinch of black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp mascarpone or crème fraiche (optional)
1 onion (diced)
200g pancetta or guanciale (chopped)
1 Tbsp white wine
spaghetti for 4
Break the eggs into one large bowl and beat till smooth. Stir in the mascarpone if you insist on using some cream. Add the grated cheese, black pepper and olive oil.
Cook the pasta till it's al dente. But it must not be ready before the bacon is cooked.
In a frying pan melt the butter and fry the onions and pancetta till fragrant. Stir in the white wine. The pancetta and guanciale (pig's cheeks bacon) are usually not smoked, but occasionally I like using smoked bacon to make this dish.
When the pasta is ready, pour the hot bacon into the bowl with the eggs and give it a good stir. Add the pasta and mix well. The heat from the bacon and pasta will cook the eggs. You understand why it's important for the eggs to be fresh.
In Italy, a Spaghetti alla Carbonara does not contain alot of sauce unlike in America. And it usually does not contain cream either. Sometimes food is best when it is fresh and simple.