In a fitting extension of our lesson on eggs in class, I was taught how to make the unique and tasty pasta carbonara by my culinary sensei Pam Saindon.
Carbonara is strange in that you put raw eggs in your cooked spaghetti. However, all of you salmonella panicked people out there can take a deep breath of relief — the hot pasta cooks the egg until it achieves a smooth, almost custard like state. It reminded me a little bit of the beginning stages of a hollandaise.
Health desclaimers aside, let’s take a look at carbonara creation:
Like any upstanding meal, our rendition of pasta carbonara started with eggs and bacon. Or rather eggs and pancetta. The pancetta was in cut into very small cubes to allow it to be crispy, and fit well within the pasta.
The eggs got whisked together in a separate bowl until they were completely combined (I wish I knew a better adjective for a well scrambled egg).
Then three hefty cups of shredded Parmesan and a lot of ground pepper were added to form this eggy concoction.
All the while, in a nearby pot, we had been boiling spaghetti to al dente perfection. Once it was cooked, we drained the pasta, but were careful to save some of the water. The pasta went right into the pancetta to marinade in delicious meat and grease.
As you can see above, we’ve got the bacon pasta, the cheesy eggs, and the hot water all line up and ready to go. While the pasta was still piping hot, we added it to the egg and tossed it vigorously and throughly so that the egg both cooked into a creamy delicious custard, and evenly coated the pasta. A little bit of the retained pasta water was used to loosen up the pasta as needed.
Thus was our take on a popular Italian delicacy. It was quite tasty. If you are more squeamish with eggs, it would probably be possible to make a more cheese based pasta, using a few eggs only as an emulsifier.
Whatever your level of egg appreciation, get out there and get crackin!