Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Dinner tonight: Spaghetti Carbonara

This is a first for me; but I love a good carbonara, so I thought I'd try my hand.

I was planning this for several days, but couldn't get to it till tonight -- after a meeting with a gentleman who is learning the Faith. Our discussion of the catechism, meanwhile, was interrupted three times by the children who were on a "Journey to Bethlehem" tonight.

So, after I finished a discussion of Mary and why God bestowed so many gifts upon her, I headed to the kitchen and got the water boiling...

When cooking pasta, I always add salt. Why pickling salt? Because I have that big bag, and how am I gonna use it up? Not by pickling. (So...why do I have it? Ask in comments...)

While the water heats up, I chop up the bacon and start frying it. 

While that cooks, I chop up some garlic and parsley. I'm using Emeril LaGasse's recipe, and that's what it says.

The water is boiling, in goes the spaghetti. The recipe is for 4-6 servings, so I'm cutting it In half.

When the bacon is ready...

I take it out and drain off the grease, saving it. Then I wipe out the pan -- should I have done that? Let me know. Then I put the fat back in sautée the garlic. The pasta is ready -- al dente! -- and now everything happens fast. Bacon and pasta in with the garlic and fat, then the two eggs, beaten. That has to be tossed just so, off the heat, so the eggs don't scramble. 

Parmesan cheese and parsley go in last, and on the plate with a glass of wine.

So, how was it?

I think the proportions were off -- basically too much pasta. But it was pretty good! I used a leftover semi sweet wine -- what I had. What would you use? I'll try this again!


pbewig said...

When you beat the eggs, add a little bit of the still-hot water from cooking the pasta. Not too much -- you don't want to get the eggs so hot that they start scrambling, and you don't want to dilute the eggs to much. Tempering the eggs this way keeps them from scrambling when added to the hot pasta, and helps distribute the eggs over the entire mixture.

And there's no need to wipe out the pan. I usually just pour off some of the excess fat and leave enough to saute the ingredients. And speaking of ingredients, I usually just throw in the pan whatever I have left in the fridge -- sorta-carbonera is a great way to use up a carrot, half an onion or half a tomato, a handful of basil, ...

ndspinelli said...

I would not wipe the pan. I would hit it w/ a little bit of wine and get all those little tidbits loosened up prior to adding the pasta. Otherwise, sounds great.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Thanks! I thought I was supposed to add that water, but I couldn't remember just when.

I'll try it again, thanks for the suggestions!

In retrospect, I don't think the proportions were really off; but I think the eggs were off. Maybe it was the water. Or else, do you think a third egg would be too much?

Bill said...

Looks good, Father! I'm partial to Father Z's recipe:
He's not really clear on proportions, but here's what I've worked out as a good balance: 4 egg yolks, 2-3 oz. salt pork (pancetta's too pricey), about 10 oz. spaghetti, parmesan and fresh cracked black pepper to taste (i.e., lots of both).

Fr Martin Fox said...


Reading Father Z's recipe, I see what I did wrong. His recipe calls for just egg yolks; that would have made mine much better.

I'll try it again...

rcg said...

This is awesome! I do pour the excess fat on to paper towels and save them to light my grill or a wood fire in the back garden. Do this while the skillet is hot and the delicious bits come out. Easily into the sauce. Otherwise I deglaze with wine, etc.

frival said...

You could also pour off some of the fat and save it. Bacon fat makes a wonderful addition to things like Manhattan clam chowder. There's a reason Emeril loves to say, "pork fat rules!" :)

Fr Martin Fox said...


Actually, I do save my bacon fat. I keep a container in my fridge.

I'm planning to fry some chicken soon; I'm going to use some of it for that (as I'm accumulating more bacon fat than I'm using).

Jenny said...

OK, no one else has asked, so I'll bite: what is the large bag of pickling salt for?

Fr Martin Fox said...


Here's the story about that.

A few weeks back, as some volunteers were finishing painting my house, I offered to make them margaritas on their last day.

They liked that idea, so when the day came, I ran over to the store next door for the necessary items. They had limeade, which ifigured would do for lime juice, and -- well, I already had the necessary liquor.

The remaining item needed was kosher salt. They didn't have that; they had pickling salt. Not the same, but it worked! The painting ladies were happy!

Jenny said...