It's a Keeper: Carbonara and Arugula Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette and Crostini

As far as I am concerned, the minute it starts getting a little chilly out, it's time to but out the comfort food! For me, comfort food means cheetos Bacon and Egg Coal Miner's Pasta: Rigatoni alla Carbonara. I made the suggested side dish for this recipe, too - Arugula Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette and Crostini. You gotta make both!

Carbonara is a family favorite for us. My Mom loved the stuff and even had a special serving dish that was only used for carbonara. Although, I think my mom put cream in hers, which I think means it wasn't necessarily authentic. Rachael's recipe doesn't have cream, but I swear it's just as good as my mom's was! It's also easily made within 30 minutes.

Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:

1 pound rigatoni
1/3 pound pancetta, cured Italian meat, available at deli counter, chopped [Sometimes if I have some extra lying around (well, in the fridge of course) I just use bacon]
Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan)
4 or 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, a few pinches, crushed in palm of hand
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock [Go for the white wine. They also sell little bottles of wine in my store that I sometimes use for cooking, since I don't want to open a whole bottle.]
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons (about 2 palmfuls) grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more, for sprinkling
A handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
A few grinds black pepper

Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When water is rolling, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente, about 8 minutes, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.

While pasta cooks, heat large skillet over moderate heat. Saute pancetta in a drizzle of oil until it browns, 3 to 5 minutes. Add extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and crushed pepper flake. Saute garlic 2 minutes. Add wine or stock to the pan and reduce liquid by half, 2 minutes.

Beat together egg yolks, cheese, and while whisking vigorously, stir in a ladle of the boiling pasta water. Beat in parsley and pepper and set aside.

Drain pasta. Add pasta to pan with sauce. Toss pasta with pancetta, then add egg mixture and toss 1 minute, then remove from heat. Continue to toss until sauce is absorbed by and thickly coating the pasta. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve with extra cheese, for passing.

1 comment:

  1. This right here is my ultimate comfort food - one of my two favorite pasta recipes from Rach. Perfection.

    The other fave - 2-4-6 Prosciutto & Bucatini with Spinach - but I changed it up a bit. I start by frying up 1/4lb of pancetta, then follow the garlic & red pepper flake step (I double everything but the red pepper flakes & spinach)....and I do it with rigatoni. Skip the Prosciutto....its all about the bacon! Please try it! It is swoon worthy!


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