Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pasta alla Carbonara Recipe, a Family Favorite.

This is the one dish everyone in the family loves and rarely is there ever any leftovers.

A true Carbonara has no cream, and it can be slightly tricky in its execution. The key is to toss and thoroughly mix the cooked pasta off the heat with the cheese, egg yolk pasta water mix, and pepper, to create a creamy yet not overly thick sauce. Be sure to use the best—quality eggs you can get.

·         1 pound Spaghetti, Fettuccine, Penne, Farfalle, etc.
·     3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (enough to coat pan bottom)
·     8 ounces Pancetta or good Bacon (I use regular good quality bacon chopped)
·     5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped (1 clove = 1 teaspoon chopped garlic = 1/2 teaspoon minced)
·     1 ¼ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano or combination
·     4 large Eggs, separated
·     1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
·     Freshly ground Black Pepper
.     1 - 2 Lbs Chicken breast cubes or fresh shrimp (optional)


1.       Put a large saucepot of water on to boil. Add a liberal amount of salt and the pasta. Cook to al dente, see package for cooking time.
2.       Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta. Brown pancetta 2 minutes. * Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. **
3.       In a separate bowl, beat yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.
4.       Drain pasta and add it directly to the skillet with pancetta and oil. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Toss rapidly to coat the pasta without cooking the egg. Remove pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper and a little salt. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up egg mixture and thickens, 1 to 2 minutes.
5.        Garnish with parsley and extra grated Romano.

*   Add the chicken and cook only enough to remove pinkness inside or the shrimp making sure not to overcook and turn rubbery.
** Add wine and stir up all the pan drippings if desired.

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