Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Spaghetti Carbonara




Spaghetti Carbonara is a classic Italian dish that can be made with pancetta or bacon.   There is little difference between pancetta (a.k.a Italian bacon) and bacon.  Both are made from pork belly and both are cured.   The different methods of curing the meats creates a slight difference in flavor, but the main difference is that bacon is smoked and pancetta is not.

Pancetta can also be more difficult to find.  Often it can only be found in specialty food stores or Italian delis.   Carbonara, however, can also be made with the ubiquitous bacon -but look for thick slices. You can use the bacon as is with all its smoky flavor, or you can blanch the bacon in hot water first to bring its flavor closer to pancetta.

This recipe uses pancetta cooked with onions then combined with spaghetti before coating all the ingredients with an egg, heavy cream and cheese mixture.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

12 oz. Dried Spaghetti
4 eggs
4 Tablespoons heavy cream
4 Tablespoons Reggiano-Parmigiano finely grated
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Small Onion minced
8 oz. Pancetta cut into 1/4 inch strips
1/4 Italian Parsley chopped to garnish

Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions until al dente.  Set aside.

Place the eggs, heavy cream and reggiano-parmigiano cheese in a large bowl.  Whisk the ingredients together until well combined.  Set aside.

In a large deep skillet or large saucepan, place the olive oil over high heat.  Toss in the onions and saut√© until soft and nearly transparent (about 5-7 minutes).  Add the pancetta and stir fry until the meat is nearly crisp (about 10-12 minutes - note if using bacon it will cook faster).   Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan and toss the ingredients together until well combined and the noodles are well coated.  Remove the pan from the heat.

While the noodles are still warm, pour the eggs-heavy cream-cheese mixture over the pasta. Quickly toss the noodles with the sauce until the spaghetti is well coated.

Serve the noodles in pasta bowls with chopped parsley to garnish.  More reggiano-parmigiano cheese and freshly grounded black pepper can be served with the noodles.  Enjoy.

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