Monday, March 28, 2011

Not quite bacon, but close enough

I went shopping at Trader Joe's yesterday with a few friends and was contemplating what to make for dinner for my boyfriend, when low and behold I walked by a gorgeous package of pancetta. I immediately thought about making Spaghetti alla Carbonara. I knew that I would need the pancetta, eggs and of course some spaghetti, but I had never made this dish before so had no idea what else I would need.

Just when I was saying how I didn't want a smart phone where I had to pay extra for a data plan, I found myself in the middle of the store needing internet access to recipes. Thank goodness my friend Traci was there. In less than 5-minutes we looked up a recipe on Food Network and I knew exactly what I'd need to buy.

The other reason pasta was on my mind was because I watched the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" in the morning. I have to say that I really didn't enjoy the book when I read it. In fact, I don't even think I finished reading it. The author just went on and on in this "whoa is me" manner that got on my nerves. It's a very rare occasion when a movie is better than the book, but in this case, the movie was WAY better than the book. Partly, I'm sure, because I love Julia Roberts, but also because the whining was kept to a minimum.

But enough about movies and grocery shopping. Here's the main attraction, the recipe.

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, minced
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 pound fresh linguine
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
¾ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, at room temperature
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and pancetta and cook until the onions are translucent and the pancetta is beginning to crisp. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the linguine according to package directions until al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander (reserve a small amount of the cooking liquid in a small bowl) and return pasta to the pot. Return the pot to the heat and add the reserved pancetta and onion mixture. Stir over high heat until pasta is coated with the pancetta mixture.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and heavy cream and add to the pasta, along with the Parmesan. Remove the pot from the heat and toss the pasta until it is well-coated. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. If needed, add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to help toss the pasta if it is dry. Serve immediately.
The finished product with some garlic & cheese bread. I added a little fresh, chopped parsley to the top of the pasta.

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