March 10, 2011

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Carbonara is one of the most simple pasta dishes within Italian cuisine. No chopping or simmering for hours, and definitely no Italian mother needed. Just 5 ingredients and 10 minutes gets you a hearty and uber delicious meal. This has been my go-to when I get home from work at 1am  and need sustenance FAST! You really can't go wrong with crispy cured pork and cheese.   
This recipe was written for one serving but can easily be doubled for a quick date-night. All you need to know is one yolk and one ounce of milk(that's one shot glass) per person. The amount of cheese and pancetta is really up to you. Lastly, the taste depends on the cheese you buy. I've had some foul-tasting pecorino before so make sure you buy the good stuff, from Italy preferably. You can use parmesan in a cinch but I prefer Pecorino Romano for its more developed flavor. 

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
3 to 4 ounces dried spaghetti
1/4 cup pancetta(or bacon), diced
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
1 ounce(2 tablespoons) milk
freshly cracked black pepper

Boil your pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. 
While the pasta is boiling, heat a large non-stick skillet to medium and begin to brown your pancetta.  
Crack the egg open and separate the yolk from the white by gently tossing the yolk back and forth between the shell. 
Grab your delicious pecorino and try to refrain from eating all of it. 
Combine the yolk, cheese, milk, and a good crack of black pepper in a small bowl. 
Stir to should look something like this. 
When the pancetta is browned and the pasta is cooked, transfer the pasta into your skillet. SAVE your pasta water for later!
Now here's the important part...turn off the heat and pour in your egg/cheese mixture while vigorously shaking the pan. By keeping the pan constantly moving you'll prevent the egg from scrambling and turn it into a luscious sauce. Keep tossing until all of the cheese is melted. Feel free to add a spoonful or two of the hot pasta water if the sauce gets a bit too thick and starts to stick together. Add a pinch of salt if you need it(although the pancetta and cheese will both be pretty salty). 

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