Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Carbonara recipes

April 25, 2001


As with many cultural foods, there is some disagreement on preparation methods and fair divergence on ingredients. Here are three versions of Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

Father Joe's Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Olive oil for frying

1/2 pound pancetta, sliced at the deli like bacon, then cut into small slivers

3 eggs (see note)

1/2 cup half-and-half

1/4 pound butter

1 pound spaghetti

2/3 cup grated Romano cheese

Freshly ground pepper

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and fry the pancetta until the fat becomes transparent. Drain the pancetta on a paper towel. Beat the eggs and half-and-half together in a bowl. Melt the butter in a microwave. Cook the spaghetti in salted water, according to package directions. As soon as spaghetti is ready, drain into a colander and return it to the same pot. Add the butter, pancetta and eggs mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon so the eggs cook on the hot noodles. Add the Romano and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Makes four to six servings.

Note: Eggs should be fresh; no cracked shells.

Elia's Spaghetti alla Carbonara

1/2 pound bacon, cut into small chunks (see note)

1 pound spaghetti

4 eggs (see note)

Freshly grated black pepper to taste

1/2 cup Romano cheese, freshly grated

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a very large skillet, fry the bacon pieces until crispy. Turn off the fire. Spoon away some of the grease, but save most of it. Push the bacon to one side and tilt the skillet slightly so the bacon does not sit in the grease.

Cook the spaghetti, following package instructions. Beat the eggs in a bowl, season with freshly grated black pepper and set aside.

Reheat the grease and bacon pieces for a minute or so, then reduce the heat. Drain the pasta in a colander and immediately pour the pasta into the hot skillet. Shut off the burner or remove the skillet from the heat.

Add the eggs to the pasta and combine all ingredients. Add the cheese, another liberal dash of black pepper and the parsley. Serve immediately.

Makes four servings.

Note: Ham can be substituted for the bacon, and saut in butter and olive oil. The vegetarian version of this no bacon, but plenty of butter, cheese and eggs is also delicious. Eggs should be fresh; no cracked shells.

Donna's Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Olive oil for frying

1/4 pound thinly sliced Parma prosciutto

1 pound perciatelli (long, hollow pasta, thicker than spaghetti)

Salt for cooking perciatelli

4 eggs (see note)

2/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a skillet, heat a little olive oil and fry the prosciutto until it becomes slightly crispy. Remove it to a platter covered with a paper towel.

Cook the perciatelli (about 10 minutes) in salted water. Make sure you have enough water in the pot.

In a warm bowl large enough to handle the cooked pasta, beat the eggs and add the grated cheese and a liberal grinding of black pepper. Drain the pasta and pour it into the bowl. Add the prosciutto.

With tongs toss the eggs, cheese and pasta, coating the strands well. Sprinkle in the parsley. Serve immediately.

Makes four to six servings.

Note: Eggs should be fresh; no cracked shells.

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