August 20, 2010

Chitarra alla Cabonara

My cousin recently made a stop over in Louisville on her way from Chicago down to Athens, GA and she came bearing gifts.  My mom the gourmande loves fancy pastas, so my cousin brought some with her from a food market in Chicago.  And I lucked out with some as well - Spaghetti alla Chitarra which are essentially square shaped spaghetti.

(I have no idea what caused the condensation in the bag)
I felt like I had to do something special with the gourmet pasta.  No olive oil and pasta sprinkle for these fancy noodles.  I should let you know - my cousin is also a great cook.  Our mothers are sisters and they share recipes and more often than not, send each other the same thing for Christmas.  It's a little eerie.  Both sisters love to cook and have both passed it on to their children.  So my cousin suggested I make some Cabonara.  Excellent!  Another new recipe to try and with delicious pasta.  Off I went to Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen and started with her recipe to make my Cabonara. 

Chitarra alla Cabonara
1 lb Chitarra pasta (you can use any long noodle here)
1/2 lb good bacon
1 c. chicken stock
3 egg yolks
1 c. Parmersean-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring pasta water to a boil.

Cut the bacon into small pieces and add to a large skillet (large enough to hold all the pasta) and begin to cook the bacon until it is brown around the edges, but still soft in the middle.  Drain the excess fat off until there are about 3 tablespoons left in the pan (use olive oil if your bacon did not render 3T of fat.  And then cry.  Because fatty bacon makes better bacon.  It's science).  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Cook until the liquid has been reduced by about half.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions.  When it's finished, drain it and add it to the skillet with the bacon and chicken stock.  With the heat on medium, continuously toss the pasta until it's well coated and all the stock has been absorbed.  Remove the skillet from the heat and add the yolks one at a time until well combined.  Add the grated cheese and a generous amount of ground black pepper and ENJOY.

I actually used Pepper Bacon (random, but perfect for this), so I left out all the ground black pepper.  Also, despite the taste, there is no cream in Cabonara.  According to Lidia, this is the traditional way to make it.  She also put onions in hers, but I didn't have one and I didn't really want it in there anyways.  But if you do, it gets cooked with the bacon and you need about 3c. diced onion.  Also - the heat from the pasta will cook the eggs yolks, so there are no worries about salmonella.  Especially with the eggs in the news lately.  Stud and I seemed to have survived. 

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