Adventures in Eating & Cooking
Finally got some pasta lessons from the K-Mart!! Plus he threw in a free tour of the medical school I’ll be attending next year. Not a bad deal considering I actually didn’t pay anything for this. I did make a run to Di Bruno Bros to get pancetta and pecorino cheese though. It wouldn’t have been the same without the pancetta, which is supposedly the Italian version of bacon only it tastes A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER! It is also a necessary ingredient in our desired dish: Spaghetti Carbonara, based on Rick Stein’s recipe.
I got a pretty good quality pecorino cheese as well, only I forgot to bring my grater… so we had to crumble everything by hand. It was intensely difficult because the cheese was really sticky and hard. I had to try cutting it into cubes and employ some twisting technique to break it down into bits. Even then, we still got chunks that were impossible to mash. I was tempted to punch the bowl afterwards.
Cut up the oh-so-deliciously-cured pancetta, and I diced the garlic!! We used about half a bulb, which is about 6 cloves, though we definitely could have put more. In Italian food, more garlic is always better (in my opinion at least).
Fresh parsley was chopped!
We lightly coated the pan with oil, fried the pancetta for a bit (which gave off an amazing scent), and tossed in the garlic and parsley. The parsley was actually a bit too concentrated, but that’s easily fixed by scooping some out.
When finished cooking, we tossed in the linguini pasta (which I learned to distinguish from spaghetti, thin spaghetti, and capellini). Mixing the pasta was rather tricky, since Italian noodles are much heavier and longer than their Asian counterparts. It was much harder to maneuver and toss around, but we managed.
A great source of pasta sauce base is the leftover water from boiling the pasta. Afterwards, we tossed in some cheese and mixed it around more to melt. This was also quite challenging seeing how we had some big chunks of cheese, which led to improper meltage… When the pasta was nearly done cooking, we cracked three eggs in, took it off heat, and mixed like a crazy amusement park ride. This allowed the eggs to cook itself into the pasta, adding a light coat of eggy goodness on the noodles.
The end product was yummers! We had leftover cheese to toss over the pasta for extra flavoring. I enjoyed the rich flavor of cheese and egg, which surprisingly wasn’t too heavy. In fact, it was decadently delicious and well seasoned. The black pepper was just the right amount, adding a slight zing to the breakfasty pasta. This was the first time I tried pancetta, and I instantly fell in love. The meat complemented the carbonara so well that the mere thought of K-Mart’s earlier suggestion to substitute with bacon disgusted me. The flavoring of the pasta was great. The only problem I had with our final outcome was that the sauce was on the dry side, causing the noodles to be hard to swallow. We theorized that either not enough water was added, or that the cheese wasn’t crumbled fine enough to melt into the sauce. Whatever the case, there could definitely be improvement on our part!