Being married to an Italian, the pressure to cook is there.
But with how strict and particular they can be - Spaghetti versus Pappardelle? Pecorino versus Parmigiano-Reggiano? Guanciale versus Pancetta? It can drive one nuts.
So most of the time, I leave it with E to do what he does best...and just spoil me!
Although with my new passion for cooking, I also try to learn as much as I can.
Especially how to make good pasta.
I can already cook a couple.
But one thing that I have always been scared of is to make Carbonara (the real one - with no cream!).
I guess I was traumatized because the first time I did it - I ended up with Pasta ala Scrambled Eggs.
But since I have the do or die spirit, giving up is never an option.
So I tried again, until I made a pretty decent plate.
And if you're not Italian, I do have some tricks that should help save you from having an egg-y dish!
What you need...
125 grams Spaghetti
50 grams Guanciale (pork cheeks), Pancetta (pork belly) or Bacon (in case you cannot get hold of the first two)
10 grams Parmigiano Reggiano (you can also use Pecorino)
What to do...
Cook the Spaghetti (according to packaging instructions). It is very important to season the water first with salt.
A lot of people make the mistake of not seasoning, and they end up with bland noodles.
Fry the Guanciale (or Pancetta / Bacon) until golden brown.
Dab some kitchen paper towel on the pan after, if you want to remove the excess fat.
Then, I choose to add a bit of Pepperoncino for an extra kick.
Mix the Eggs, Parmesan Cheese and Pepper in a separate bowl.
Once the Guanciale is ready, turn off the heat. Very important to lower the heat for the eggs later.
Add the cooked Spaghetti. Never, and I say again - never ever rinse the pasta with cold water.
You will just wash off the starch and all the goodness (I can already imagine how proud my husband is reading this).
Toss the Spaghetti with the fried Guanciale. Let it soak in all the flavors.
Put a little bit of pasta water, this would help make it creamy and ensure that the frying is finished.
Add the egg mixture and toss.
This is critical because when the Guanciale and Spaghetti are very hot, and you add the egg mixture...
You will have Pasta ala Scrambled Eggs for lunch!
When finished, top with more Parmesan Cheese and Pepper.
As the Italians say, the pasta never waits for the guests.
Instead, we should wait for the pasta, ie it is to be eaten as soon as it is served.
Serves 1-2 (depends on your appetite, needless to say I can finish this alone!).