Monday, August 19, 2013
Linguini alla Carbonara
The original Pasta Carbonara is a simple dish traditionally made with just eggs, cheese, meat and black pepper. It’s not one of those dishes steeped in ritual and custom, handed down from generations past. In fact it’s more commonly thought that its roots in Italy are as recent as the 1940’s when the primary ingredients were made more plentiful by the presence of US troops.
While we have great respect for tradition, if a dish is that good with these minimal ingredients, just think what we can do when we fortify it with a few more non-traditional additions.
Pasta is often served as one course of an Italian meal followed by seafood and/or meat courses. This, like many other Americanized versions, is a recipe for a main-course pasta dish accompanied simply by a refreshing, light salad.
Linguini alla Carbonara
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings Preparation Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time: 10 Minutes
• 1 Pound Dry Linguini
• 4 Whole Eggs
• 3 Egg Yolks
• ⅓ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
• 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
• 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
• 6 Ounces Pancetta, diced
• 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
• ½ Medium Onion, finely chopped
• 1½ Cups Frozen Peas
• 3 Cloves Garlic, mashed with ⅛ teaspoon of Kosher Salt
• ¼ Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Step 1. Whisk Whole Eggs and Egg Yolks in a large bowl along with ⅓ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese and Red Pepper Flakes. Set aside.
Step 2. Set a large sauté pan over Medium heat and add the Olive Oil. Cook the Pancetta in the hot oil until browned then transfer the Pancetta to a paper towel to drain leaving the fat in pan. Add the Butter to reserved fat in pan.
Step 3. Bring large pot of generously salted water to boil, add pasta and when water returns to boil, cook for 10 minutes until al dente.
Step 4. While the pasta is cooking, set heat under the fats to low and stir in Onions and Frozen Peas. Cook stirring occasionally then add the Garlic during the last minute of pasta cooking time. Remove the vegetables from the heat.
Step 5. When the pasta is done cooking, reserve ½ cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta in a colander. Immediately transfer the hot drained pasta to the bowl with the eggs and cheese. Add ¾ of the cooked Pancetta, stir to coat and then add the Onion and Pea mixture scraping all of the fat from the pan into the pasta. Stir again to combine. If desired add some of the reserved hot pasta water to thin the coated pasta. Transfer to serving dish.
Top with remaining Pancetta and ¼ cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese and serve.
Tips and Trending
~ Tradition calls for spaghetti in this dish, but linguini is my pasta of choice. The flat surfaces of the noodles allow the sauce to cling more readily so you get all the goodness of the sauce with every bite of pasta.
~ Cooking pasta “al dente”, or “to the tooth”, yields a firmer pasta that isn’t mushy and has more substance. During the cooking process, use a fork to remove a strand and bite through the middle. It should be cooked all the way through with no dry areas but still give some resistance to your bite.
~ Please use caution in consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.
~ Pancetta is similar to bacon but is not smoke-cured. You can substitute bacon for the pancetta in this recipe, but it will add a smoky flavor. If you do use bacon, cook the bacon without the olive oil, then drain the drippings from the pan after cooking the bacon and replace it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil before adding the butter.
~ Grated Parmesan blends well with the eggs, but for topping I prefer larger shreds so the cheese only begins to melt over the top. You can also shave a block of your favorite Parmesan right over the dish with your vegetable peeler.