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Friday, February 28, 2014

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara.  Not a dish that I'd ever made.  One of my favorite bloggers, Christiane at the Mom Chef, could just about live on the stuff.  So, I kept thinking that I'd try her recipe.  Then, Connie and I took a trip south to Columbus, IN to look at some different office space for me.  I took along Michael Symon's 5 in 5 to make a list of all the recipes I wanted to try.  I might as well have copied the entire index.  Everything we've made from this cookbook has been fabulous.  Loads of flavor.  Easy.  Great weeknight cooking.

We had a pound of guanciale - aka hog jowl bacon - in the fridge. Expiration date 3/19/14.  Needed to get that used up.  There was a list of stuff to use up.  So, as I made my list of the recipes to try I kept that in the back of my mind.  Ah HA!  Classic Spaghetti Carbonara called for the guanciale.  That was going on the short list. 

It was fricking freezing out. We were leaving the office REALLY late.  Dinner was supposed to be Cuban Sandwiches.  But, I needed buns and ham.  A trip to the grocery wasn't happening.  Then, I remembered the carbonara recipe.  Perfect.  No grocery run.  Easy.  And, if it was like the rest of the recipes we'd tried, fabulous.

So, what did we think?  Nom, nom, nom.  Connie's plate was clean. I ate half of mine because I was trying really hard to be good.  This was just amazing.  The egg yolk was so silky.  We loved it.  Now, I've got to note...  the egg yolk doesn't cook fully.  You should VERY carefully wash your eggs prior to cracking them.  Use only eggs that are really fresh (we recommend Eggland's Best.)  And, make sure you're not serving them to anyone with any health issues. 

Do you remember when you were a kid and your mom was making chocolate chip cookies and you got to lick the bowl?  I sure do.  In fact, last weekend when we went to visit our grandkids I asked their mom and dad if I could give them the beaters from the cookie dough - that'd been made with raw eggs.  They said sure.  We're pretty much that way in our house.  From everything I've read the real salmonella problems come from the shells and not the eggs themselves.  But, we all have to issue warnings....

Now, on to the recipe!

Classic Spaghetti Carbonara


Kosher salt
1 lb dried spaghetti (I used about half a pound)
4 T olive oil (I used about 2 T of extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 lb guanciale, cut in small dice
4 large eggs separated (I used two since we were doing two servings...)
1 t freshly ground pepper
1/4 c chopped flat leaf parsley
1 c finely grated parmesan or romano cheese


Bring 5 quarts of water and 3 T of salt to a boil in a large pot.  Cook the pasta about a minute less than the package directions.  You want it to be al dente. Before draining the pasta, reserve about 1/4 c of the pasta water. 

While the pasta is cooking, cook the guanciale in a large skillet.  The original directions said it should take about three minutes.  I found it took about ten to get it nice and crispy.  The original directions also called for adding olive oil to the pan.  I was draining bacon fat like crazy...  At any rate, cook the guanciale over medium high heat until it's nice and crispy.

While that's cooking, separate the eggs and set the yolks aside.  Do not break the yolks.  Froth the whites until they're foamy.  Add in the parsley, pepper and grated cheese. 

Now, to put this together...  Do a final drain of the guanciale.  Take the skillet off the heat.  Pour the pasta water into the skillet.  Stir until you've gotten all the fond up.  Pour in the egg mixture.  Make sure you don't scramble the eggs.  Add the pasta and toss well.  Mound the pasta in pasta bowls.  Top each serving with an egg yolk. 

adapted from 5 in 5 by Michael Symon


Debra Eliotseats said...

I haven't made this in a while. Ruth Reichl's recipe is my go to for carbanora. Love that egg yolk on top!

Rachel Page said...

I just made this tonight for dinner, and it was absolutely delicious. I am glad there were just 2 of us eating, so we will have plenty of leftovers tomorrow!