August 5, 2010

Late Night Series: Pasta Carbonara

Do you ever think about food late at night?

I do.
All the time.
In the 11pm-12am time range.

To satisfy this craving, I usually peruse my favorite food blogs/food websites until I find something very, very appetizing. Something that I want to eat at that very moment and promise to make for dinner the following day. Then I'll watch a lot of youtube videos or videos by Ina/Giada until the only thing on my mind is to make that dish.

Two nights ago, I stumbled upon Pasta Carbonara. After feasting on a decadently creamy PC at Pietro's two weeks agao, I was shocked to discover that Carbonara sauce is not a cream-based sauce but in fact an egg-based sauce. Determined to try the real thing this time around, I set out to make this classic Italian dish.

Browsing through several recipes, I discovered that the recipe is actually very simple and decided to just wing it. With the help of a mystery Italian man on YouTube who's video played in the background as I cooked; I diced, mixed and crackled my way to dinner.

For sides, I made Crushed Peas with Smoky Sesame Dressing from Smitten Kitchen and whipped up a quick Bruschetta using the grape tomatoes and basil from our garden as well as some salt, pepper and balsalmic vinegrette. Finally, I grilled some french bread topped with Pecorino Romano to finish everything off.

Traditional Carbonara asks for Pancetta (or bacon) but since I had neither, I went with a cooked sausage which wound up fooling my parents because they thought it was bacon (ha!).

Here is the recipe (give or take):

1/4 cup cooked sausage diced into small cubes
1 cup grated pecorino romano
1/2 box spaghetti (about 6.5oz, I used Nature's Promise Whole Wheat)
2 eggs
black pepper
red pepper flakes (my addition)

Basically you cook the "bacon" until it gets nice and crispy, whisk up the Carbonara sauce which includes the eggs, cheese and black pepper and cook the pasta till al dente.

Now here's the weird part. Mr. Italian Man on YouTube (who appeared very legit because he was speaking in Italian) said you needed to retain some pasta water in the drained pasta to help "amalgamate" all the ingredients. Then he proceeded to combine the pasta with the bacon and carbonara sauce over a low flame.

This is the route I took but my sauce wound up getting a little to "eggy" as opposed to "saucy".

The other videos/recipes I saw directed you to mix all of the ingredients in a bowl off of the stove and did not mention anything about pasta water.

So much for Mr. Italian Man on YouTube.
Overall,  it was a pleasantly satisfying meal which produced no leftovers. I think I'm going to trying the Carbonara recipe again next week but using the alternative method.

Anyone have tips or suggesetions on how to make my sauce more saucey?


  1. wow you sound like such a good cook :D

    i want to try your concoctions!

  2. HAHAHAHA "amalgamate"... now i know why you were saying that when preparing hotpot yesterday

  3. Looks like an amazing feast! I'm starving already and it's only 11 am.

  4. haha. story of my life! thank goodness there are 3 meals in a day :)