Saturday, November 5, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara sans Lupo.

I feel terrible writing this without my Lupo. I feel bad eating this without him too. But c'est la vie...

The weather has gotten cold and sometimes when a girl doesn't have her wolf around to keep her warm, she has to turn to the next best thing. Comfort food.

In this case...Spaghetti Carbonara. Which is just one of those dishes that in it's total simplicity never fails to make a person feel at home, taken care of...even if the person taking care of you is yourself. After a long week, on a cold day...there are few things better than a steamy tangle of perfectly al dente pasta, coated in bacon fat, egg yolk, cream, and cheese. Crispy bits of bacon and sweet peas nestled in like jewels amongst a velvety mass. There is something that just cuts deep to your soul, purifying it and smoothing over the wounds of the week with little more than a bite. .  Whether eaten greedily from a bowl or spread across a plate, topped with a gossamer pillow of freshly grated cheese and cracked black pepper. In the company of Netflix or friends.

But in honesty.... There is no pretension. No real ceremony. Just good ingredients, brought together at the perfect time. Improvisational and open to adjustment.  It's easy, made with often on hand ingredients, and deeply satisified. If my Lupo came home from work late...this is precisely what I would make for him too.

If you have separate serving times too, you can always fry upon extra bacon and set aside until later as well. This recipe is enough for one person as a whole meal, or two as a side.

Spaghetti Carbonara sans Lupo.

What you'll need:

4 oz. uncured bacon or pancetta. (I prefer bacon, and am more apt to always have it at the ready.)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmiagianno-reggiano, pecorino romano, or grana padano. Plus more for grating.
2-3 oz heavy cream. 
1 egg plus one egg yolk.
About a silver dollar's worth of dried spaghetti.
A metric shit ton of black pepper.
A pinch of cinnamon.
Salt to taste.
Extra virgin olive oil
Frozen peas (optional but delicious)

The Logistics:

The idea behind carbonara is a surprisingly simple four steps that anybody can honestly pull off, even an overworked and exhausted chocolatier. Begin by dicing up the bacon (preferably the organic, uncured, slab variety) and crisping it up in a large sautee pan with a bit of olive oil to coat. While that get's going, start your pasta water boiling with enough sea salt added to allow it to double as a foot bath when you finish. In theory, your pasta water should hit it's rolling boil at the same time your bacon is finished, in practice...well. We'll see. Anyways.

In the meanwhile, in a separate bowl beat together your egg plus egg yolk, grated cheese, pepper, salt & cinnamon, and heavy cream. If you don't have heavy cream at the ready then just use two whole eggs instead.

 Turn the heat off the bacon once caramelized and crispy and add the pasta to water, cook until just al dente.  If you're getting fancy and adding peas in, now would be the time to toss your handful into the pan. Pour off most of the pasta water and turning the heat back on your bacon. Deglaze with the pasta water and add your cooked spaghetti in as well, sautee until mildly reduced. Turn off the heat, toss in your eggy-cheese mixture and keep it moving to prevent your eggs from scrambling on you. And honestly, even if they do it's still going to be fucking delicious. Top with more grated cheese and black pepper.

Serve, enjoy, and share.