Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pasta Carbonara

So, I made pasta carbonara for the first time. I know right? All this time, and I've never had it. I just held it in my arsenal of quick, simple, I know it's gonna be great recipes.


But I was disappointed. I feel sad even saying it. I mean, this dish should be elevated to gourmet standing by its salty, rich and decadent preparation of simple, fresh ingredients. But I found myself eating it, thinking 'meh.' Really, just meh. The only explanation. So sad.


And I feel confident that I prepared it well. I used good ingredients- diced pancetta (OK, maybe I used bacon, but I don't feel that is a mitigating factor), Piave cheese, fresh herbs, and local, organic eggs. You can also sautee some diced onions in with your pork fat. So, I cooked up my bacon, while simultaneously boiling pasta...


Come go time, I drained the pasta (while reserving a cup of cooking liquid), tossed in two scrambled eggs, a generous amount of cheese, the cooked bacon and herbs. I added some cooking water to loosen the sauce and make it saucey.

What was I missing that would take this dish from the meh to the transcendent, like I was expecting? My friend Kat suggested white wine? Dear readers, please save this bufuddled cook who can't understand how you can ever go wrong with pasta, cheese, and bacon.

8 comments:

  1. This sounds silly but did you salt it? I've found sometimes a tiny bit of salt at the end can really make something pop.

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  2. Use Rachel Ray's recipe and just use bacon. It rocks! It's also an easy recipe.

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  3. Kate, we use an extraordinary amount of black pepper in our preparation. And, like Beth said...adding a little more salt in at the end can make all the difference in the world. Don't be discouraged. Build on what you've done. Do it again and again until you've got it just the way you like it. :)

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  4. Piave isn't a very salty cheese(going on other suggestions posted) and, I believe, most recipes call for Parm because of the salt and nuttiness in it. Maybe blending the two cheeses together could bring it up for you a bit? I also always tend to add a hand full of peas when I make this at home which always seems to add a nice element.

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  5. Use more egg yolks to give it a richer flavor.

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  6. Did you use "scrambled" eggs, like you said? I find that when I make it, I don't really cook the eggs, but I warm them up with the butter and bacon fat until they're a thick, creamy sauce, and then take them off the heat. Done. If they scramble, it's not carbonara anymore- it's pasta with scrambled eggs (also delicious...). And I second Uke's Parm comment, for sure. I hope you have better luck next time!

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  7. Sorry the dish was a disappointment! This being said, I LOVE your bowl. . . do you know the name of the pattern?

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  8. Two suggestions:

    1) Try experimenting with different cheeses... namely Parmesan and Peccorino. Piave isn't salty enough for this dish.

    2) Don't "scramble" the eggs. Go with jj's suggestion instead.

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