Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara with Green Peas

For all of you followers who are eagerly awaiting another restaurant review, I'll have one on Friday and a couple more next week. I thought I had one for you yesterday, but then I discovered the Indian restaurant in question was part of a chain, so today you've got another recipe instead.

It's a good one, though.

I've made this recipe from Food & Wine's December 2006 issue 3 times now, and I think I love it more with each bite. It's pretty simple and it's delicious.

Unfortunately it's not particularly healthy. You've got lots of cream, cheese, more cheese, egg yolks, pasta and pancetta, which is probably the world's fattiest bacon. I'm not recommending you make this everyday, but every once in a while won't kill you. I know it would give cardiologists nightmares, but including those two tablespoons of pancetta fat into the sauce sure does make a mouth-watering mix.

If you follow the directions, you shouldn't have any trouble making this correctly the first time around. Food & Wine estimates a half hour cook time start to finish, and I think that's about right, as long as you remember to start boiling the water right away. It can be easily halved, or doubled as needed.

As my friend Danielle pointed out to me, there are lots of recipes for spaghetti carbonara, but not many include peas. I think the peas are a great ingredient here, because the lighten up an otherwise very heavy, starchy dish.

The only thing I would potentially change about this recipe is the amount of cheese. It's a good idea to start with less mixed into the sauce - maybe 1/2 cup as opposed to 3/4 cup - then taste the finished entree and sprinkle more on top if desired. Remember, once all the cheese is mixed into the sauce, there's no going back. Also, if you use cheap parmesan (you know what I mean, the green container rather than the real parmesan-reggiano), you probably won't need to add any salt. Again, hold back until you taste.

Verdict: A great pasta dish, sure to impress.

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