Thursday, November 17, 2005

An Old Standby and a New Find

Yes, I do still cook sometimes. Tonight I was craving Spaghetti Carbonara. I used Nigella Lawson's recipe, which is sinful. I blanched some brocilli with the pasta, and added some mushrooms to the bacon. So, I got my veggies! I didn't refer back to the recipe; I can basically wing this one. Rich and creamy, smooth, and delicious. This is a favorite standby.

I stopped at Central Market on my way home. Of couse, I got about 30 more items than what I needed. One find was a 'sparkling mint beverage' called snow. All natural, it's a carbonated mint beverage. It tastes like a rumless mojito. It's very good and refreshing. I normally don't drink non-diet sodas, but may get this as an occasional splurge.

Pasta Carbonara

snow soda--and those are cookbooks in the background

Spaghetti Carbonara
from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat
(paraphased a bit, to save typing)

1/2 lb. spaghetti
4 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4 in. dice or 1/4 in. strips (NL says you can sub 3-4 slices bacon)
2 tsp. olive oil
4 T. vermouth or white wine
1 egg yolk
1 whole egg
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
freshly milled black pepper
whole nutmeg
1 T. unsalted butter

Boil the pasta in salted water. Put the pancetta in a frying pan with the oil on med. to high and fry for about 5 mins, maybe more, until it is beginning to crisp. Throw in the vermouth and let it bubble for 3 mins or until you have about 2 tsp syrupy bacon fat. Remove from heat. For the egg mixture, beat the yolk, whole egg, and cheese. Season with pepper, grate in some nutmeg to taste, and mix with a fork. When the pasta is ready, put the pancetta back on the heat, adding the butter as you do so. Drain the pasta, then turn it into the hot pan. Turn it with a spatula and/or wooden spoon, and when it's all covered and the liquid is absorbed, take it off the heat. Pour the egg mixture over the bacony pasta* and quickly and thoroughly turn the pasta so it's all covered in the sauce. Don't turn the heat back on. In time, the hot pasta and the residual heat of the pan will set the eggs to form a thickly creamy sauce that binds and clings lightly to each strand of pasta. This make about 2 platefuls, 1-2 servings.

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