Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pasta Carbonara

Carbonaro is an Italian word which means charcoal burner.   Italians believe that this noodle dish was first made for Italian charcoal workers.   There was even a suggestion that it was made to give tribute to  Carbonari which means "charcoalmen", a secret society prominent in the unification of Italy.

It was first described after the war a Roman dish, when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the US.  It was even called "coal miner's spaghetti" in some parts of the US.  (wikipedia, Better Homes and Garden Magazine)

I've seen a lot of carbonara recipe in cook books, internet and magazines.  Some are complicated though.  What I did is to simplify the ingredients and the measurements making sure that the pasta carbonara will not become dry.  The amount of the ingredients is very easy to memorised.  My husband asked me once when I was cooking at my in - laws' place if I could really remember the ingredients, the measurements and the method.  Of course I said YES!  I can even cook this with my eyes closed LOL.

500 g spaghetti/fetuccine noodles
400-500 g bacon
100 g butter
1 C thickened cream
1 C parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 medium onions, minced
5 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cook the noodles according to package instruction.  If there is no instruction, just cook it in a boiling water with salt and oil for 18 minutes.  If you are using angel hair pasta the cooking time is shorter.
  2. Fry the bacon (do not slice yet...most of the recipes you will find will tell you to use bacon rashers which I hate using because I always get blisters from the hot oil or butter) in the butter.  It will depend on you if you want the bacon cooked crisp or not.  I prefer cooking half of the bacon crispy and the other half, just cooked.  When the bacon is cool enough, use a pair of scissors (instead of a knife)  to cut it into small pieces.  Set aside.
  3. Whisk in a bowl the cream, cheese and eggs.  Add salt and pepper.
  4. Sautee onions and garlic.  Add half of the bacon.  Put in the noodles.  Make sure that everything is well mixed. 
  5. Pour the sauce mixture and bled well.
  6. Top with bacon and serve.



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