Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

I was discussing Belgian beers the other day with some friends, and it got me thinking about some good food pairings.  In the past I've always enjoyed Belgian beers with a nice steak, but I wanted something different.  For those that don't know, Belgian beers are amazing.  They are full bodied, complex beers, often fruity and very aromatic.  A true joy to drink.  Some people love to talk about wine, I love to talk about, and drink, Belgian beers.  In our discussions, we knocked around some ideas about salt crusted fish, spicy seafoods, and anything with lots of bacon.  The thoughts of bacon led me to think of Spaghetti Carbonara!  Oh yeah.  I would get to use my new pasta maker to make fresh spaghetti, and try a new recipe of something that was sure to be delicious.

I had this bottle of Delirium Nocturnum in the fridge just begging to be opened and enjoyed, and I knew it would go perfectly with the salty, bacony, goodness that is the Spaghetti Carbonara.  The Nocturnum is a great example of a fine Belgian strong brown ale.  So many flavors can be detected in it, from apples and berries, to raisins and bittersweet chocolate.  I love it.  I could start a blog on Belgian beers if I wanted to, but there's probably a million of those already.  As if there aren't enough food blogs! :)  Anyway, as usual I turned to the tried and true recipes of Cook's Illustrated's The Complete Book of Pasta & Noodles.  The book is 450+ pages of pretty much every kind of pasta dish and sauce you can imagine.  I use their basic recipe for all the pasta I've made so far (ravioli, spaghetti, and fettuccine), but this was the first time I used a real sauce recipe.

It turned out great, especially with the strong Belgian beer to wash it down.  If you're in the mood for a salty, bacony, pasta dish, this is it!

1 pound spaghetti (I used my homemade spaghetti)
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/4 pound thick cut bacon, diced into 1/4" pieces
1/4 cup dry white wine (or 1/4 cup Belgian beer!)
3 large eggs
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (Locatelli)
2 Tbs minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Ground black pepper

1. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot for cooking the pasta.  Cook until al dente.

2. While the water is boiling, heat the oil and garlic in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes, and discard.  Add the bacon and cook until just beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine (I used the Belgian beer) and simmer until the alcohol aroma has cooked off, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat, cover, and keep warm.

3. Lightly beat the eggs with the cheese and parsley in a large serving bowl.

4. Drain the pasta, leaving it slightly wet, and transfer it to the bowl with the egg mixture.  Immediately toss the pasta with the egg mixture to coat evenly.  Stir in the bacon mixture.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4.

Note (this is in the book, so I guess I should post it here too.):
This recipe contains raw egg.  Because of the threat of salmonella, food safety experts advise against serving raw eggs to the very young, the elderly, and those whose immune systems are compromised.  The rest of us eat them at our own risk.

Download a printable recipe here!


Michele said...

This is almost my exact recipe except I add a diced onion and saute in the bacon drippings. It's such a great flavor especially if you use pinot grigio. The sweetness of the pinot with the salty bacon and the onions...omg...fabulous.

John said...

That's a great idea Michele, thanks! I'm going to add a small onion next time, and I'm sure it will be delicious.

痛苦 said...
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