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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pasta alla carbonara

The classical Italian pasta, made famous after World War II (actually pretty inexistent in culinary history - or at least unrecorded - before it). There are several theories regarding the history and origins of this delicious dish: some say it was devised for charcoal burners (coal miners - carbonaro being the Italian term for the job), some say it's called carbonara because of its ashy looks after being traditionally sprinkled with lots of black pepper, others that it was created in honor of the "Carbonari" (charcoal men), some secret society that played a major part in the unification of Italy. In any case, nowadays, if a restaurant has only three types of pasta, you can bet carbonara is one of them (pasta bolognese and macaroni with cheese being, most probably, the other two) :).

Here, we took a quite traditional take on it, with less sauce than it is usually served with in many European restaurants claiming to offer the original. The creamy Parmesan sauce is a classical great combo, found in many traditional pasta dishes (like the fettuccine alfredo), Italian and not only. Enjoy.

Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 250 g pasta (we used fusilli) 
  • 100 g cream
  • 100 g bacon 
  • 1 egg
  • 50 g Parmesan
  • a few sprinkles of salt
  • a few dashes of freshly ground black pepper
  • a little thyme
  • a little olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove

First, mince the bacon into little bits:

Put the olive oil and thyme in a large frying pan and heat it. Add the bacon and let it get crispy. Let it cook on low heat until you finish the pasta:

Put the pasta in boiling salty water and let them cook as long as the package says:

Add the peeled and minced (or crushed) garlic clove to the bacon. Start cutting or grating the Parmesan very finely:

In a bowl, beat the egg and add to it the pepper and salt:

Add the cream to the egg and stir a little to mix them:

Also add the Parmesan to the sauce (after making sure it's very finely grated). When the pasta are done, drain them and add them to the pan with the bacon and garlic:

Mix and let it cook for one more minute, then take the pasta away from the fire (or heat source) and add the sauce. Mix very well so the sauce coats the pasta while they're still hot. It's done, dig in!

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