Friday, August 19, 2011

Pasta alla Carbonara: Part One

I have had this recipe on my to-do list ever since watching the Rome episode of No Reservations. This week I finally decided to tackle this classic Italian dish. Every region tweaks the recipe it's own unique way and the addition of zucchini flowers is a seasonal variation you'll most likely find in Rome.

Pasta alla Carbonara
Serves 4

Photo by Renato Ghio

Eggs - neighbor of a friend
Pancetta - Gaia's Breath Farm
Zucchini flowers - my garden

Ingredients
  • 5 oz. pancetta, diced
  • 12 zucchini flowers, coarsely chopped
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • Salt, to taste
Directions
  1. Get a large pot of water going on high heat.
  2. Then, heat a large saute pan. Once it's hot, add the pancetta.
  3. Cook the pancetta until it just starts to look crispy. Don't let it get too crispy or it will quickly burn.
  4. Take it off the heat and set it aside. 
  5. Next, in a large bowl whisk together the eggs and cheese.
  6. When the pot of water comes to a boil, add a few pinches of salt and toss in the fettuccine.
  7. As the pasta cooks, add the olive oil to the saute pan with the pancetta and get it back on the stove to heat up. Once it's sizzling, toss in the zucchini flowers, lower the heat to low and let it hang out while the pasta finishes cooking.
  8. When the fettuccine is al dente, lightly drain it and add it to the saute pan. Be sure to reserve some of the pasta cooking water.
  9. Stir the fettuccine around the pan to coat it with the pancetta fat and olive oil.
  10. Then remove the pan from the heat and pour in the egg mixture. Stir, stir, stir. You want to fully incorporate the egg mixture with the pasta. If it looks a bit dry feel free to add a little of the reserved pasta water.
  11. And that's it. It's ready to serve.
Note: It's really important to remove the saute pan from the heat before adding the egg mixture. You do not want it to become scrambled! The result should be an amazing creamy sauce.

Alternate Ideas
  • You can always substitute bacon for the pancetta. In fact, pancetta is actually a substitution for guanciale, which is not too easy to find in my neck of the woods.
I really loved this dinner. The zucchini flowers added just a hint of color and flavor. It was so good that we really had to restrain ourselves from eating more than one serving a piece.

Stay tuned for Part 2 because I have some serious plans for these leftovers!

This is cross-posted as part of Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday.
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