Carbonara!

Today’s guest post is from my darling cousin Lori, who’s getting married on Halloween to the Rockstar she affectionately calls Future Husband on her awesome and hysterical blog that is full of hilarity Diary of a Rockstar’s Girlfriend! This is the meal she made while she was here to visit our g-ma recently, and Oh. Em. Gee. is it ever delish.

I can’t believe I just said that on my blog.

Anyway . . . I give you Lori and her Carbonara recipe of awesomeness.

Carbonara


Okay, I was planning on having this recipe be for the debut of my own food blog, “This is Why I’m Fat,” but since I can’t get my lazy ass to actually finish building it, let alone take better quality pictures, I figure I’ll send it over to my dear cousin Jinxie.

Now, all of these measurements are approximate. I’ve been cooking since I was three years old, when I surprised my bedridden pregnant mother with a bowl of Kraft Mac n Cheese. No, I did not burn the house down or set myself on fire. Somehow. Point is, after 22 years, I don’t need to measure. I can eyeball pretty well. So here’s my advice – taste it, smell it, watch it. Cooking is a contact sport, you gotta get up in there.

I started making this recipe one night after Future Husband had a show. I brought him and the Drummer back to the small duplex the band, the two wives and one kid were living in. I looked at what I had to work with, and then typed ‘bacon, eggs, spaghetti’ into www.supercook.com. The result was Carbonara.

I tweaked the recipe a bit that night, and over the next few months until it was second nature. It’s since become a staple in my social circle. Birthday dinner? Carbonara. Family gathering? Carbonara? Is it Wednesday? Carbonara.

Ingredients:


1 lb. Spaghetti or Angel Hair pasta
4-5 slices of Bacon
1 head Garlic (or about 12 cloves)
1 small Onion
3 Egg Yolks
6 tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 oz. Shredded Parmesan Cheese (divided 6oz. and 2oz.)
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
1 small Tomato (optional)
2 Green Onions (optional)

Equipment

1 large Cereal Bowl or small Mixing Bowl
1 large Pot (for pasta)
Pan for Carbonara (deep skillet, sauce pan, pot – whatever you’re comfortable with)
Measuring Cup or Coffee Mug
Cutting Board
Knife
Colander
Kitchen Shears
Tongs
Spoon or Spatula
Ladle

The beauty of this dish, is that you can customize it however you’d like, once you’re comfortable with making the sauce. One of my favorite ways to do it is to dice a boneless, skinless chicken breast, and add some fresh spinach. For G’s birthday Carbonara, I added scallops, shrimp and crab, white wine, broccoli and extra red pepper flakes.

To begin, separate the egg yolks into the bowl. You can discard the whites, or save them for scrambled eggs in the morning. Your call. Let the yolks sit on the counter while you prep the vegetables, so they reach room temperature.

Begin prepping your garlic. Peel all of them, and dice (however finely you’d like) about half of them. I usually dice the big ones, and keep the smaller half of the batch whole. Chop your onion into pieces however large or small you’d like. Just keep in mind that you want them to be soft, and be able to twirl up with the pasta.  Dice your tomato, and set aside for later. This is garnish.

With your kitchen shears, cut up the green onions. This goes much faster than trying to saw through them with a knife. These are also for garnish, to you can set them aside with the diced tomato.

Begin heating your Carbonara pan, as well as the pot of water for the pasta. (Make sure to salt your pasta water! About a tablespoon will work.) In the Carbonara pan, drizzle EVOO and let it heat up for a moment, before adding your onion. While the onion’s getting started, use your kitchen shears to cut up the bacon into pieces. I usually do about half an inch, but you can to it a little smaller, if you’d like. I cut the bacon directly into the pan, so it can start cooking while I wash my hands.

If you’d like, add a dash or two of red pepper flakes, or black pepper. DO NOT add any extra salt to the sauce!

After a few minutes, add the whole garlic cloves. Let the bacon, onion and garlic cloves cook for a few more minutes, until the onions are transparent, and the bacon is cooked, or almost cooked. There should still be EVOO, in addition to any bacon grease that has accumulated. If there’s not enough oil/grease to cover the bottom of the pan, add a little more oil.

By now, the water should be boiling. Add your pasta! Use the tongs to move the pasta around periodically. If you let it sit in the water, you’ll end up with clumpy, unevenly cooked pasta. No one likes that. Keep an eye on it, periodically stirring and checking for doneness.

While the two pots are going simultaneously on the stove, use a fork to break your egg yolks. Using the ladle, slowly spoon in some of the boiling pasta water, constantly beating the egg yolks. If you don’t beat them, the hot water will cook them. This is not our aim. By quickly stirring the boiling pasta water into yolks, you’re tempering them, getting them ready to join the hot greasy goodness in the sauce pot. Slowly pour your tempered egg yolks into the sauce, stirring constantly. Once the eggs are completely mixed with the onions, garlic and bacon, begin sprinkling the 6 oz portion of parmesan cheese into the sauce. Add your diced garlic. Keep stirring!

When you drain the pasta, use the measuring cup or coffee mug to reserve some of the pasta water. Quick tip? Pasta will continue to cook, even though you’ve strained it. Either shock it with cold water to stop the cooking process, or drain the pasta out about a minute before it reaches the doneness you like.

Feel free to leave the pasta in the colander while you finish the sauce. If you want just enough sauce to coat the noodles, you can discard the reserved pasta water. If you’d like a little sauce left over on the plate (this is not a mopping up with garlic bread kind of dinner, no matter what) add some or all of the reserved pasta water.

Once all 6 ounces of the shredded parmesan have been melted into the sauce, mix the pasta and the sauce together.

After plating, sprinkle the pasta with the diced green onions, diced tomato, and some of the reserved 2 oz. of parmesan.

Mangia! Mangia!

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