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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara
This is a Roman dish and everyone has their own version of it. Aside from the restaurant style, loaded with heavy cream, there are basically 2 versions. One maintains that pancetta, a mild non-smoked Italian bacon, is the only meat for this dish and the other is that the American smoked bacon makes this classic Roman dish only better. Both are popular in Italy, but my recipe is with the smoked American bacon. Think of it as spaghetti with bacon & eggs!
6-8 ounces bacon (or pancetta) 1/2 inch slices
1 very large yellow onion chopped or sliced thinly
1 pound box thick spaghetti
3 egg yolks & 1 whole egg beaten
3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmesan if you prefer the taste or a combo of the 2 cheeses
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup white wine or 1 cup chicken broth or 1/2 of each (I feel a combo works best)
kosher salt
1 cup pasta water reserved
a lot of fresh ground black pepper
olive oil for drizzling
Grate your cheese and mix it with the egg/egg-yolks, set aside.
 Start pasta water (Remember to salt it well!)
Cook bacon over medium heat for 6 minutes, remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel.
Remove some of the bacon fat if there is a lot, you need just enough to coat the bottom of the pan you can also add a little olive oil. Add the thyme, pinch of salt, and onion and saute over medium heat until very soft and tender.
Add wine or broth and reduce by half.
Cook pasta, drain (reserve 1 cup of pasta water), add the pasta to the onion mixture and mix well over medium heat for1 minute or 2.
Add a few tablespoons at a time of the hot pasta water to the egg/cheese mixture whisking in in order to slowly heat up the eggs this way they will not cook like scramble eggs when added to the pasta. After you have used about 1/4 cup of the pasta water dump the egg mixture into the pasta and mix well off heat for about 1 minute. If it is too dry add more of the reserved pasta water and mix in well. Add the bacon, a lot of black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and  toss well. It is also nice to have some more cheese on the table.

Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner.
~Sophia Loren

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