As a cook, I’d love to be remembered as someone who took inspiration from my culinary heritage, but also relished making dishes my own, by not feeling shackled by recipes, but rather enjoying the freedom to apply skills I’ve acquired over the years to bring new techniques and ingredients to my cooking. I’d also like to be remembered for the time I’ve spent cooking with my family, teaching my kids a few things about cooking before they head out on their own in the world.
This dish, our twist on Spaghetti Carbonara spoke to both of these things, and therefor fit the bill of this week’s challenge nicely. A family favorite that gives a nod to my Italian culinary roots, but veers from the traditional in substantive ways, it’s a dish that was born out of experimentation with my clan, one that the kids not only helped to re-define, but ultimately learned how to make themselves. And the best part just might be the fact that it’s finished with an element that the kids and I learned together just for this dish (David Chang’s “just” poached egg), how cool is that.
This is not a “carbonara” in the true sense as the real deal is always made with spaghetti, and NEVER with cream or herbs and spices other than salt and lots of black pepper. What this dish IS, is a treat that takes the basic elements of a carbonara, eggs, bacon, cheese and pasta and spins them into a familiar, yet unique play on the classic. The sauce is fortified with shallot, rosemary, cream, butter, parmesan and pimenton, the guanciale, cut into thick lardons is seared to a perfect chewy-crisp. The final flourish is the egg, poached a la Chef Chang to yield a just-set globe of deliciousness that dissolves completely when each diner “finishes” the dish themselves by stirring the egg among the bite-sized bits of sauce enrobed pasta.....a little bit of magic on a plate. - Oui, Chef
This un-carbonara recipe combines all the elements of a delicious simple and tasty pasta sauce; bacon, egg, cheese, cream and a little pimenton to add a spicy kick. It's exceptionally simple to make, although the eggs do take a fair amount of babysitting. That being said, the results are certainly worth the effort. I found moderating the temperature was most easily done by popping in an ice cube when the temperature rose to 141°F. It's fun to experiment with a new technique, and it was simple enough to keep an eye on it while prepping the rest of the ingredients. I like my sauces a little more on the thick side, so didn't add much of the pasta water and there was still enough sauce left for my bread to soak up! - thehappycook —Victoria Ross