Spaghetti alla Carbonara

November 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

Recently, I found myself craving carbonara. Not the peas, bacon, and cream-kind, the legit egg-yolk infused Parmesan-deliciousness.  At first, I wanted to try two different recipes and see which one I liked better. But after making the first one, there was no need to try another recipe because it was so fantastic. I made some variations on Tyler Florence’s original recipe below.

Notes:

1. Use pasta water to thin out the sauce a little bit.  I used about 1/2 cup.

2. Make sure you take the pan off the flame when adding the egg/cheese mixture so the eggs don’t get scrambled.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
  • 4 ounces of prosciutto, sliced thinly into ribbons
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian “al dente.”) Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the pancetta and saute for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Add the ribbons of prosciutto and saute for 1 minutes. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute for less than 1 minute to soften.

Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Pass more cheese around the table.

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Rigatoni with Meat Sauce

July 31, 2011 § 4 Comments

Today, I’m taking a little detour from my usual fare and presenting my journey into the world of Italia!

First, I must give all credit to whatever knowledge I have of pasta and sauce to my lovely and dear friend, Amanda.  In college, I tasted one of the most delicious things in my life – her family’s pasta sauce. To my absolute delight, I was lucky enough to learn how to make it at home (though it really never tastes the same…) and it’s still pretty darn amazing. So thank you, amazing girl, for teaching me how sauce should taste! This post is dedicated to you and congratulations again!! 🙂

Notes:

1. Seasoning every layer is crucial, in any type of cooking. Make sure to season every step moderately, and then at the end the seasoning should be almost just-right.

2. Use GOOD Parmesan! None of that Kraft-pre-grated stuff. Spend the money on the good stuff.

3. You can use any type of pasta, I just like rigatoni with meat sauce because the sauce gets into the little ridges and it’s so delicious!

4. Try to use San Marzano tomatoes, the taste/sweetness of the tomatoes is the perfect match for a delicious tomato sauce

5. Sauce will taste better the next day. Always.

Rigatoni with Meat Sauce

Adapted from Amanda’s genius-brain

Ingredients

  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 tsp chili red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 cans San Marzano tomatoes, whole
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup of finely sliced basil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch-oven (or any type of heavy-pot), heat olive oil on medium-high heat and toast garlic until lightly browned and fragrant.  Add minced onions and cook until onions are translucent, around 5-6 minutes.
  2. After the onions are translucent and soft, add your ground beef and cook until browned, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, pour contents of your tomato cans and using your hands, break up the whole tomatoes into rough pieces.  Add the tomatoes to the beef and onion mixture.
  4. Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer, the sauce will be very watery. (Don’t worry, the next hour, we will slowly simmer the extra water out, leaving a thick, delicious sauce.)
  5. Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Simmer on medium low heat for 45 minutes to an hour with the lid half-on, stirring occasionally.
  6. After the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency, add grated Parmesan cheese and stir well into the sauce. Add the thinly sliced basil, and then turn off the heat. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Boil salted water for pasta, and cook according to package directions for al dente.
  8. Add a few ladles of sauce into the drained pasta, and then serve into bowls. Add a small ladle of sauce additionally on top of each serving, and top with a little extra grated cheese if necessary.
  9. Enjoy!!
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