Liz Clements | Lifestyles Editor
Wow, here comes my last recipe ever (well, my last Gleaner recipe). I remember how excited I was to integrate food and drink into the paper. The first recipe I ever wrote was for hummus; I can’t even remember what year that was, I’ve been around too long it seems. A few sentences in and I’m overwhelmed by the things I still want to share. How do I pick just one recipe? What have you all learned from me so far? A few things I hope. Okay, enough procrastinating and onto the food.
Spring is in the air and I’m feeling indulgent, so I think I should share my recipe for Carbonara. A silky egg based pasta dish with salty cheese and pancetta, plus my little extra dash of love with sweet green peas. This dish has the most obscure of origins and history of any recipes I’ve written. No one really knows where it is from or the true meaning of the name. There is speculation that it was a dish originally made for coal miners.
The dish has become fairly popular and had adapted many variations. The sauce of the dish is made with raw eggs, making it creamy, since cream isn’t generally used in Italian cooking. But today you may find variations that use very little or no egg. Americans seem to get freaked out by raw eggs, when in essence we probably have the freshest and safest eggs of them all. Anyhow, I still make my Carbonara old-school Italian style.
It’s a very simple, quick dish to make, and it doesn’t take many ingredients. As per usual, it’s a peasant dish. Writing about it just now is making me ravenous, and I think I might just have to make this for supper tonight. Alongside some grilled chicken, I think it will be perfect. There is some ice cold wine in the fridge, and can we really ask for more?
As you make my final recipe, just remember: the company you surround yourself with is just as important as the food. Keep good company: family, friends and neighbors. Share with them everything you’re able to and more. Love them, protect them and laugh with them. A kitchen table is never just for eating, and the food is a vessel to encourage openness and sharing. You’ll be amazed at the things an open heart and kitchen will open you up to if you let it. Don’t be afraid; embrace the food and life will embrace you. Salute and buona fortuna!
1 box De Cecco spaghetti rigati
Fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt
1 cup frozen peas
6 slices thick cut pancetta, cubed
1 tbs. fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 eggs, plus one yolk
½ cup fresh grated pecorino cheese
½ cup fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Cook your pasta according to instructions. In a sauté pan, crisp up your pancetta over medium heat. Once crisp, deglaze your pan with white wine, about one pan swirls worth, and scrape all the bits from the pan. Add your peas and let come to temperature. Transfer onto a dish and let cool. In a mixing bowl beat your eggs, add your cheese, parsley and about a half teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Once your pancetta is cool, add that, too. Drain your cooked pasta and add about half into your egg mixture, toss as vigorously as you ever have before to ensure you don’t scramble the eggs. After about one minute, add the remainder of your pasta and toss. Serve up in big bowls with more cheese.