Monday, October 20, 2008
Carbonara means coal, and many believe the dish derives its name because it was popular among Italian coal miners. Others believe however, that the dish is called carbonara simply because of all the black, freshly milled pepper that is used. There are many variations to this hearty pasta dish. I like this one because it is fun to do at the table. If you can’t find, or can’t get pancetta use bacon.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
8 oz pancetta cut into small squares
1 lb fettuccine
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Let the butter, eggs and cream stand at room temperature for 2 or 3 hours. This is optimum but don’t worry if you have to rush it.
Cook up the pancetta until it begins to brown, remove and drain on a paper towel.
Warm the pasta serving bowl in the warming oven if you have one.
Add the fettuccine to a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until al
Meanwhile, beat together the eggs and the cream.
When pasta is ready, drain but do not rinse, Turn pasta into the warmed serving bowl.
At the table, toss the pasta in butter, add the egg/cream mixture and toss until well coated.
Add the pancetta, cheese and pepper. Give it one last quick mix, sprinkle some parsley on top and serve.
Shelley and I went to a very good Italian Restaurant in Calgary called Mercato. It is attached to an Italian grocery store so all the ingredients used in the kitchen can be purchased in the store. We sat at the counter overlooking the open kitchen. The food was fantastic and the cooking lesson was thrown in for free.
This was Shelley’s meal.
The recipe calls for Ricotta Salada which is an Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. It is firm and salty and is nothing like the ricotta cheese most of us are used to. It can be tough to find. A fair substitute is mizithra which is Greek and similar.
For each serving
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 cloved garlic finely chopped
15 leaves of Arugula
Extra Virgin Olive oil
10 grape tomatoes
120 grams fresh spaghetti
Salt to taste
Toast the pine nuts until they have browned slightly.
Take half of the arugula and chop it finely. Add to it the garlic, some pine nuts and olive oil. With a mortar and pestle mash it into a pesto.
Put on a large pot of salted water on to boil. Meanwhile cut the tomatoes in half and crumble the cheese into pieces about the size of a marble. Tear the remaining arugula leaves in half.
When you have everything ready to go put the pasta into the boiling water and
bring it back to the boil. Don’t forget, fresh pasta cooks very quickly and you want it al dente or slightly firm.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it reserving some of the cooking water.
Heat a sauce pan on medium high, add a good swirl of olive oil, take enough pasta to make one or two servings, the pine nuts and the pesto and add it to the pan.
Quickly toss it a few times. add about half a cup of the cooking water and toss again. Remove from the heat. Toss once more and put the mixture into a pasta bowl.
Add the tomatoes, the cheese and the arugula and toss. Serve with a little more of the cheese shaved on top.
If you are serving more than two people it is better to mix the pasta up with the oil and other ingredients as individual servings or perhaps two at a time. Once you get past a couple of servings it is harder to manage and you may over cook the ingredients. The tomato and arugula should have a fresh flavour.
don’t worry too much about this recipe. When Italians call a dish “spicy” it is rarely truly hot.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon minced Italian parsley or basil
1 can canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons plus ½
1 pound spaghetti
3/4 cup freshly grated
Pecorino Romano (optional) You could use
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 14-inch skillet over medium-high
heat. Add the garlic, chili, and parsley, and cook 30 seconds, or until
Fold in the tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook over medium heat 20
minutes, covered, stirring once in a while. Meanwhile, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and the remaining 2 tablespoons of salt. Cook until al dente, then drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Add the spaghetti, Pecorino, and the reserved pasta cooking water to the sauce in the skillet. Cook 1 minute, stirring; the sauce should coat the spaghetti; cook a few seconds longer if it does not.
This is a very simple and tasty pasta. In fact it is so simple many might be
tempted to give it a pass. Resist that temptation.
Pecorino Romano is cheese made from milk from sheep raised in the hills around Rome. Try and find Pecorino Romano, but if you can’t, any good quality Romano cheese will do. This would go very well with a Pancetta Salad and a glass, or two of Italian red wine.
2 tsp black peppercorns
250 grams of spaghetti
3/4 cup of finely grated
Pecorino Romano Cheese
2 tbsp of the same
cheese set aside
Toast the peppercorns in a dry small skillet over a moderately high heat until fragrant, 2 or 3 minutes. Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or wrap then in a clean kitchen towel and smash them with something heavy.
Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente.
Meanwhile warm your pasta bowl by filling it with hot water.
Just before the spaghetti is finished cooking, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta
When it is ready quickly drain that pasta in a colander. Don’t shake off excess water.
Put the pasta into the warmed pasta bowl, reserve 2 tbsp of the cheese and
sprinkle the rest along with 3 tbsp of the cooking water evenly over the pasta and toss quickly.
If the pasta seems dry, toss again with some additional cooking water.
Divide the pasta into 4 bowls, sprinkle with the pepper and the cheese you set aside.
This is a great summer pasta when produce is plentiful and fresh.
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion halved then sliced
1 handful of mushrooms sliced
1 Yellow zucchini sliced into ½ inch pieces
One 350 ml package of spaghetti (I like corn flour spaghetti because of the yellow colour)
Salt and Pepper
150 ml cream
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When the water is rapidly boiling put in the spaghetti and cook according to the instructions.
Heat a large saucepan and when it is hot, add the oil and the garlic
Just as the garlic begins to brown, add the onion
As the onion begins to turn translucent add the mushrooms
Add the zucchini as the mushroom soften
When the spaghetti is ready add about a cup of the cooking water to the saucepan with the vegetables
Stir then add the cream
Drain the pasta and add it to the vegetable mixture and stir to coat it well with the sauce
Divide it up and enjoy
This will serve 4 to 6 people depending on appetites