Meditations

Alessandro’s Pasta alla Carbonara


pasta alla carbonara

I normally use spaghetti or linguine, get the thicker kind, not the fine ones. For 8 adults I would be safe and use 1Kg of linguine. Make sure you have a big pot to boil the water into. As a rule when cooking pasta, fill the pot all the way leaving about 1 and 1/2 inches free from the rim. Pasta needs a lot of water to cook well :)

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1 300~400 gram wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano (you will need to grate it)
olive oil
Table salt
Coarse sea salt
Pepper
Italian Parsley (about 8~10 stems)
One little carton of cream (Dairyland brand whipping cream is the one I normally use) 250ml.

Italian Pancetta or thick sliced bacon (the best would be to go to a deli and get 1 or 2 very thick slices of bacon; Urban Fare has it at the deli counter [pancetta]).

Start putting the pot with water on the stove, add about 3 table spoons of coarse salt (you’ll need it for all kinds of pasta cooking), let it set until it gets to boiling point.

Scramble the eggs in a container; add salt and pepper (use your judgment for how much). Grate with a fine grater about 1 1/2 measuring cups of parmigiano. Do not grate the whole wedge or you won’t have any left to grate on top of the pasta once it is served.

Pour the parmigiano into the bowl of eggs, and wisk until it is well amalgamated, no lumps allowed. Add about 1/2 the contents of the cream carton to the egg mix and stir well.

Chop all the bacon into little squares (about 1cm per side is fine) and fry it until golden in a pan. Make sure you do not add any oil or butter…..bacon is greasy enough on its own. Once it is golden, remove it from the heat and let it set.

In the mean time you should have chopped all the parsley very fine (use an electric utensil or chop it with a large knife like a pro). Add 1/2 of it to the egg mix, and stir.

As the water reaches a boil, add the pasta. As a rule, you should grab the whole bunch of linguine/spaghetti in your hand and put it in the center of the pot and let go; the pasta will spread evenly around the rim. Make sure you stir it and force it all into the water, as spaghetti, if left alone, have the tendency to stick together.

“Pasta al dente” is a must. I normally keep an eye on it to check the color changing from yellowish to yellow/white, but I always pick one strand and taste it every 2~3 minutes after it has been boiling for the first 6~7 minutes. Overcooked pasta (any kind) is a big no-no!

Once ready, drain all the water and pour all the spaghetti/linguine again into the empty pot, put it on the stove at moderate heat setting, pour the egg mix and stir with energy, add the bacon, making sure you do not add the greasy residue, keep stirring until the egg is 1/2 way to start curing (you don’t want it runny, but you don’t want it like scrambled egg either), at the very last, add the rest of the chopped parsley and give it a last stir.

Serve on plates, and add the final touch….go around the table and grate some parmigiano on the pasta to suit the personal taste of your guests.

Note: Pasta alla Carbonara is VERY filling!

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