In case many of you do not know the difference between prosciutto (ham) and pancetta (cured bacon), they come from different parts of the pig: prosciutto from the leg and pancetta from the underbelly. Both prosciutto or pancetta may be added to a recipe to give the dish more flavor, but they do have a distinctive taste. Pancetta is used in carbonara. You can find real pancetta in an Italian market or deli that specializes in Italian cold cuts and other foods.
To serve 4 people, you will need the following:
- 1 lb. dry spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 ounces finely diced pancetta
- 2 large whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons soft butter
- Fresh parsley (optional as a garnish)
Please note: It is very important the spaghetti is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the spaghetti cooks the raw eggs on contact. Timing is everything!
- In a small bowl, cream the soft butter with a wooden spoon.
- In another bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks with a fork until they are well blended. Blend in ½ cup grated cheese and stir well to prevent lumps.
- Set bowls aside.
- Cook the spaghetti over high heat until firm to the bite, or al dente, about 7-10 minutes. Make sure strands do not stick together.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the pancetta, and fry until crispy, about 3 minutes.
- Pour off @ ½ of the fat and stir the heavy cream into the skillet.
- Bring the cream to a simmer and keep it warm until the spaghetti is cooked.
- When the spaghetti is firm to the bite, drain thoroughly in a colander.
- Transfer the spaghetti into a heated serving bowl or casserole dish and stir in the creamed butter, coating the spaghetti strands.
- Stir in the hot pancetta and cream mixture and finally the beaten eggs and cheese mixture, tossing everything together thoroughly until the eggs begin to thicken but are still creamy. (Do not scramble!)
- The heat of the spaghetti and other ingredients should cook the raw eggs on contact.
- Sprinkle with ground back pepper and salt if desired.
- Serve the carbonara at once. Garnish with fresh parsley
- Pass the remaining ½ cup of grated cheese at the table.
- Serve on warmed plate if possible.
Buon Appetito! Enjoy!
I would love to hear from you any suggestions on dishes that I may prepare for you. With summer around the corner we should look forward to some great garden vegetable dishes and pasta seafood dishes.
See you on Thursday!