Hello Chicklets readers! Lis’Anne here with a past Guest Rooster in the house today. Jon Akers is sharing one of his culinary masterpieces, a hearty pasta dish. Welcome back to the Kitchen, Jon! 😀
Looking at the past month or so of posts, I note that there is a severe lack of dishes and recipes that are, well… not necessarily healthy for you. As such, I present to you a favorite pasta dish of mine that is possibly going to set your taste buds into overdrive and your heart into palpitations of distress. Linguine alla Carbonarra!
This is a somewhat old dish, and I have been eating it since I was little. I’m not sure if it was my mother or father that brought the dish into the family repertoire of meals, but I know it wasn’t brought in by their parents! I am going to guess it was my father, because he is the one that spent a year in Italy as an exchange student in college (and is the reason why he met my mother!)
- 4 strips of bacon
- 1/2 pound of linguine
- 1-2 eggs
- 1/4 cup of cream (regular or heavy)
- 1 cup of grated hard cheese
- Kosher Salt
- White pepper
This makes enough for two. Scale upwards or downwards proportionately for more or less as you need to.
First things first, get all of your prep work done. I combine a lot of things in my procedure to cut down on time, but for the first time go ahead and get all of the prep done at the beginning. Cut all of the bacon down into small 1/2 wide strips.
Grate the cheese down (use a micro-grater) and place that in a bowl. Add the eggs, salt, white pepper (to taste) and cream to a second bowl and whisk. Make sure it is well mixed. Leave it out so that it can all warm up somewhat. You don’t really want this to all be cold when you add it to the linguine, as it needs to cook on the noodles! That is part of the magic of this dish, that the sauce (and that is really what we are creating here) is cooked by the heat of the noodles to adhere to them, creating a lovely, eggy sort of taste.
Our next step is to cook up the noodles. Follow the directions on the box, but be aware that you want the noodles to be hot when it comes time to add everything else to them. Also be aware that if you do not have any linguine, fettuccine can also be used. Just do not go any thinner than linguine for your noodles, because you need for the noodles to hold their latent heat long enough to cook the egg when you add it to the noodles. In addition, fire up a second fry pan and fry off that bacon. Traditionally pancetta is used, but it is so tough to find that really, bacon will work just fine. Just don’t go with any of those oddball bacons with maple syrup added. Go for a lean cut of bacon, and thicker is better. Hickory smoked is fine. Personally, I get a nice pound of Wright’s bacon and stay happy. Cook up the bacon and make sure it is cooked all the way through. Don’t go too crispy on it, otherwise the dish basically has Bac-O’s in it and you may as well have purchased those instead. I recommend getting the bacon done first, and having the pasta as the last thing done cooking. The bacon can sit on a paper towel for a couple of minutes and drain off the grease while the pasta finishes cooking.
These next instructions need to be done quickly and efficiently, so have your ingredients ready to go!
Once the bacon and pasta are ready to go, strain off the pasta and put it in a bowl. Add the cheese you grated earlier and give it a quick toss. This does not need to be a major tossing of the ingredients, just enough to get a mix going.
Next grab your egg and cream mixture (realistically, I guess you could call this a modified egg wash, but we are using it on pasta instead of pastry dough) and drizzle it into pasta as you toss it. If you have someone to help, this step is a bit easier, but it can be done with just two hands. Don’t go too overboard with this mixture. Drizzle in enough to get a good coating on the noodles, but not so much that you get a collection of egg at the bottom of the bowl that doesn’t do anything but sit there.
For the final step, add the bacon to the mix and give a quick toss. Don’t go too heavy with this step, or else all of the bacon will end up at the bottom, and that is simply no fun!
This dish can be done either in individual bowls for each person eating, or in a large pot and then served up family style. The end result is the same… arteries crying out in anguish and a happy belly!