01 March 2009

Carbonara. Quick comfort food.

One of my all-time-favorite comfort foods is Spaghetti Carbonara. It's quick, simple, I almost always have the ingredients at home - and most important of all - it's delicious. How could you not love noodles with a creamy, cheesy sauce and bacon? The recipe I use is a very traditional Italian one, although I like it best with capers. Yes, I know it's not the classic combination (some might even shout "blasphemy!"), but I like the acidity of the capers in contrast to the creamy sauce. Please don't kill me, try it. If you don't like it you can still use the traditional chopped parsley.



250 g spaghetti, linguini or other thin, long Italian noodles
8-10 thin bacon slices (200 g)
2 egg yolks
100 g cup cream
50 g fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

Bring enough water to boil, put plenty salt in it so that it tastes like sea water and cook the spaghetti.


Cut the bacon into fine strips and let it get crisp in a pan, then add the butter.

Pour the cream into a small bowl (or just leave it in your measuring jar), stir in the egg yolks and the grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, but keep in mind that the bacon and your spaghetti are already quite salty. I also like to add 1 tsp of the caper brine, that gives the dish a very subtle flavor and deepness. Or maybe it's because I use lactose-free cream which tastes a good deal sweeter than regular cream.

As soon as the spaghetti are done (al dente), drain them and put them into the pan, letting them brown a tiny little bit. Now - this is very important - kill the heat and move the pan to a cool surface. If your pan has a very thick sandwich bottom, pour the bacon and spaghetti into a glass bowl. If you don't do this, you'll get scrambled eggs instead of a creamy sauce (in case that happens, tell the people its a rustic version). Back to the hot spaghetti in a cool place: pour the cream-cheese-egg mixture on top an quickly mix it with the spaghetti. Ready to eat!

Serve with capers or fresh chopped parsley. And don't forget some freshly ground pepper.

As I make this dish quite often, I end up with tons of egg whites. I freeze them and still have to think of ways of using them (macarons and pavlovas come to my mind).


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