April 30, 2013
Fettuccine carbonara: it only makes sense…perfect sense. It’s such a beautiful day, but it is certainly the calm before the storm. We are expected to get quite the whooping tomorrow, and carbonara is the perfect way to “celebrate” it. Well, in Zach’s case, carbonara is a cause of celebration. He’s strange and also an atmospheric scientist, so anytime there is something falling from the sky is an exciting day for him. Anyway, pasta carbonara is such a great cold-weather dish, but um…HELLO!! Tomorrow is the 1st of May! Shouldn’t we be moving on to bigger and better things: like sunshine and flowers and budding trees! Budding trees…well there’s an exaggeration if I ever saw one. I have yet to see a flowering tree. It’s saddening, but I am really really trying to make the best of it in the form of nourishment. We haven’t written about carbonara yet and it’s such a fantastically classic dish that deserves all of the recognition in the world. This is one of our faves, and after you try, I hope that you decide to join the club =).
Carbonara is just like any other recipe in the universe…It’s classic BUT everyone has their own version. No one knows EXACTLY where it comes from, although most believe it’s Rome. It’s obscurity is what makes it so special and what gives us the chance to make it just the way we like it.
This recipe goes straight into the vault of things I love most: Cilantro (the dog and the herb), crazy nail polish, books about vampires and food magazines. Oh and then there’s Zach…let’s not forget about him!
This pasta was the perfect way to celebrate the snow and paired with the most perfect beer. When I think of pasta carbonara, I think of the country. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the heartiness or the warm feeling you get after eating it. I thought of no better way to go than with a farmhouse ale. I know for sure that I have paired with Great Divide’s Farmhouse Ale: Colette before but I just couldn’t go any other way. It’s so complex, but so refreshing and hearty … and we love it.
The perfect pairing.
So to make this bad boy of a pasta dish:
You’re going to get your pasta going. By the way, it’s so important to follow these instructions perfectly. It will make a huge difference.
While your pasta is cooking, fry up your pancetta (or bacon if you are using).
Remove the pancetta from the pan (along with some of that grease) and add the mushrooms and onion.
Once tender, add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together your eggs, parmesan, half and half and salt and pepper (be generous!).
Oh I forgot about the whole pasta drainage. Drain the pasta and transfer to a bowl…Sorry about that guys. =)
Now start drizzling you egg mixture into your hot pasta (you want to make sure the pasta is hot so that it “cooks” the eggs).
This is the MOST important part of the whole thing, while your drizzling your egg mixture make you sure you are continuously stirring your pasta. You DO NOT want the eggs to scramble if they get TOO hot. Be patient, be careful and love your pasta like you would love your first born. I’m so not kidding…
Once perfectly incorporated, toss the bacon and the mushroom/onion/garlic mixture into the pasta until mixed well.
Top with parsley and parmesan and eat it before it gets cold, because this can be the absolute worst.
Enjoy every inch of this dish. It will go fast. Much faster than you may think.
- 1 lb fettuccine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 ounces pancetta, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- ¾ cups half and half
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the pasta reaches al dente. Drain the pasta through a colander and transfer to a large bowl, reserving about ¾ – 1 cup of the pasta water (just in case).
- While your pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan and add the pancetta. Cook until crispy, about 4-5 minutes and remove the pancetta from the pan. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain any excess fat. Discard about half of the grease from the saute pan, but not all of it, and return the pan to the burner. At this point lower the heat to medium-low and add the mushrooms and onion. Cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes and then add the garlic. Cook for another minute and then remove from heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, parmesan cheese, half and half and plenty of salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly, VERY SLOWLY, drizzle the egg mixture into the hot pasta, stirring the pasta the entire time (IMPORTANT: so that the eggs cook but do not scramble). Once incorporated, add in the pancetta and mushroom/onion/garlic mixture. Add a little bit of the pasta water if you find it needs a smoother consistency.
- Garnish with parsley and parmesan and enjoy!