Is there anything more delicious than crispy pork, eggs, pasta and cheese? Carbonara just may be my favourite way to eat breakfast foods at dinner. The very first time I heard about carbonara, I was in my late teens. I was working at a deli/bakery, and my manager was a super-sweet Italian woman who would chat with me about all the delicious Italian dishes she would cook for her husband, two sons and daughter.
One day, she told me she made carbonara for dinner. I told her I’d never heard of it and put her in some major shock. I know now that carbonara is a classic Italian dish, but at the time, I hadn’t really explored Italian cuisine. Sheri, my manager, took it upon herself to teach me the ways of carbonara.
“It’s simple,” she said, “put the spaghetti on the stove, and while that’s cooking, fry up some bacon in a pan until crispy. Crack an egg or two into a bowl and add some romano and lots of black pepper. When the spaghetti’s done, drain it, and toss the hot pasta with the eggs and cheese then add the bacon.”
It sounded easy enough and to a bacon and egg lover like me, I had to try it immediately. What Sheri didn’t mention was the fact that carbonara making is a lesson in timing. My first attempt was sort of a bacon and scrambled egg pasta. Delicious, but nothing like the creamy sauce I’d heard about. It took me a while, but I managed to figure it out.
This Marcella Hazan carbonara recipe is pretty good. I love the flavour you get from the garlic and deglazing with white wine.
Marcella Hazan’s Carbonara Recipe from labellecuisine.com
1/4 pound pancetta
2 garlic cloves
1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 large egg
2 tablespoons freshly grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
280 grams spaghetti
Start by boiling a pot of water and then cooking your pasta according to the package. Time it so that everything else is prepared by the time the pasta is cooked.
Cut the pancetta into strips not quite 1/4 inch wide. Lightly crush the garlic with a knife handle, enough to split it and loosen the skin, which you will discard. Put the garlic and olive oil into a small sauté pan and turn on the heat to medium high. Sauté until the garlic becomes coloured a deep gold and remove. Fry the pancetta until it starts to crisp at the edges. Add the wine and let it bubble for a minute or two and then turn off the heat.
Break the egg into big enough to toss the pasta in. Beat it lightly with a fork, then add the two grated cheeses, a liberal grinding of pepper, and the chopped parsley. Mix thoroughly. Add cooked drained spaghetti to the bowl, and toss rapidly,
coating the strands well. Add the entire contents of the bacon pan into the bowl, toss thoroughly again, and enjoy at once.