The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Kids Make Spaghetti Carbonara

October 27th, 2012 · No Comments · Posted in kids, Recipes

So simple, but oh so delicious

The “carbonara” in this spaghetti dish is said to derive from the Italian word for “charcoal makers.” So I imagine those rough-hewn folk grabbing the simplest ingredients at hand–bacon, eggs, pasta and cheese–to make this classic hearty meal that cooks up in a hurry

It sounds a little like an Italian version of breakfast for dinner. In fact, the bacon part probably would have consisted of a different cured pork product, such as pancetta or even guanciale (smoked pork jowl.) But we used a thick, smokey bacon in our food appreciation classes because it is more economical and also more readily available in our part of the world. The idea is to fry bits of bacon, then toss it and the bacon grease that results with freshly cooked pasta. Beaten eggs constitute the sauce, and the whole thing is seasoned with a ton of grated Parmesan.

“You mean we’re going to be eating raw egg!” one of the kids in our food appreciation classes exclaimed in horror. “What about salmonella?

Yes, it’s true. The egg in classic carbonara is not supposed to cook. In fact, one famous chef likes to make it this way: Separate the eggs, toss the cooked pasta with beaten whites, then create nests of pasta on the serving plates and drop a yolk into each. The diners get to stir their own yolk into the pasta.

The incidence of salmonella poisoning from fresh eggs is low and most frequently stems from restaurant food using eggs raised in factory settings. Still, the federal government estimates that about one in every 20,000 eggs carries the bacteria and advises that fresh eggs should be kept refrigerated and should be completely cooked before eating.

So, if you have a deathly aversion to eating raw egg, skip this recipe or try using pasteurized liquid eggs instead of shell eggs . Otherwise, buy your eggs from a source you trust and enjoy a dish that for all its simplicity is incredibly delicious. (I buy all my eggs at a local farmers market, where I know the farmer who raises the chickens.)

To make up to six dinner servings of spaghetti carbonara, slice 4 strips of thick, smokey bacon crosswise into thin batons. This is more easily done if the bacon is very cold. In a large, heavy skillet, fry the bacon in 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil until the strips are browned by not yet crisp. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a cutting board. Chop them coarsely and return the bacon to the skillet.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water, season it well with salt and bring to a boil. Drop 1 pound dry spaghetti into the water and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. The pasta should take around 12 minutes, and is done when cooked through but still slightly resistant to the tooth, or al dente.

Pasta tossed with bacon and fat

While the pasta is cooking, beat four eggs in a bowl until they begin to froth. Separately, grate approximately 1 cup (or more) of the best Parmesan cheese you can afford.

When the noodles are done, drain them thoroughly and dump them while still hot into the skillet with the bacon and fat. Toss well with a pair of tongs, then thoroughly stir in the egg and Parmesan cheese.

Serve immediately.



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