Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pasta Carbonara

I love the new Cooking Channel! I am sure I will be posting many recipes here after I try them. Here is my adaptation of Jamie Oliver's Zucchini Carbonara - I left out the zucchini because my man and boys will not eat anything from the squash family, but if I ever have any veg lovers over I will definitely add them. If you haven't watched Jamie Oliver's show - Jamie At Home, you should because you will learn so much about basic cooking skills and the importance of using the freshest ingredients possible.

1 lb Perciatelli*(or your favorite pasta)
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 slices thick slices pancetta or bacon, cut into chunks
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup Fat Free Half and Half
2 big handfuls Parmesan (freshly grated)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh Italian Parsley, chopped (only use fresh!)
Pepper & Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for serving)

Prepare pasta according to directions for your pasta to be "Al Dente". Tip- before you add the pasta to the boiling water, add salt to the water. You will need at least a couple of tablespoons of Kosher Salt, the water should taste like the ocean.

To make the carbonara sauce, put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the half & half and half of the Parmesan, and mix together with a fork. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large skillet add 2 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the pancetta/bacon - cook until brown and crispy. I usually remove the oil to save a few calories & fat but never the brown bits in the pan, they contain all the flavor. Side note - I have not tried this with Turkey Bacon but it would definitely save on fat & calories.

Now it is time to mix everything together, I am going to borrow Jamie's words because he is such a great teacher and this part is important.

"It's very important to get this next bit right or your carbonara could end up ruined. You need to work quickly. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with the bacon, then remove from the heat and add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water and your creamy sauce. Stir together quickly. (No more cooking now, otherwise you'll scramble the eggs.)

Get everyone around the table, ready to eat straightaway. While you're tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle in the rest of the Parmesan and a little more of the cooking water if needed, to give you a silky and shiny sauce. Taste quickly for seasoning. Add to serving dish, top with parsley, fresh pepper and drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil - then serve and eat immediately, as the sauce can become thick and stodgy if left too long. "

I always reserve a little extra Parmesan, EV Olive Oil, Parsley & Pepper so each person can add more to their plate if they want it. I can never have enough cheese, Olive Oil & fresh herbs.

*Also known as Bucatini pasta - I buy Delallo Perciatelli at Sprouts.

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