Monday, April 14, 2008

Joey's Fettuccine Carbonara

I recently had dinner at an intimate family-owned Italian restaurant. There was a large group of us, and we enjoyed sampling each others' menu selections. I immediately fell in love with the spaghetti carbonara and decided that I needed to come up with my own version of it. So, I did a little research. 
 Clearly, this is one of those dishes that is open to one's own interpretation. There are SO many variations! Certain ingredients were common to most of the recipes that I found, so I incorporated many of them into my own. I'm very pleased with how it turned out! Not only is it simple and flavorful, but it's also rich and decadent. My nephew Tommy is particularly fond of it, and gives rave reviews every time I make it for him. It's perfect for a special occasion or just a movie night get together to hang and cook!  Enjoy!

1 lb. fettuccine
4 oz pancetta or bacon, cut up
1 small onion, diced
splash of white wine
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

In a heavy skillet, saute onion and pancetta until the onions are soft and the pancetta is slightly crispy. Drain any fat. Remove skillet from heat, add a splash of white wine and give it a good stir. Set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook until al dente. While the pasta is boiling, beat the eggs and milk in a large serving bowl. When the pasta is done, quickly add it to the bowl, along with the bacon, onions, cheese, parsley and black pepper. Toss everything together. The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs. Top with a little more cheese and some freshly chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

I always go heavy on the bacon. If you like a lot, add a lot!!! More is more, I say!
Since you want the pasta to cook the eggs, you can help that process by starting with eggs and milk that are room temperature. You can also use an oven proof pasta bowl and put it into the oven at the lowest setting while you're cooking the other ingredients, and then remove it just before you toss everything together. Don't be nervous about adding raw eggs to the pasta. They really do cook from the heat of pasta. Have I ever lied to you before? If you're still not sold on the idea, you can use an egg substitute. If the sauce is too thick, thin it down with a little of the pasta cooking water or a splash of milk.
For a little extra richness, use heavy cream or half and half instead of milk. Yum!

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