000's Pasta Carbonara
I believe this is not the traditional Carbonara, which among other things doesn't use cream or milk. But it's the way I like to eat it, and the cream/milk helps so the egg doesn't solidify into curdley bits as quickly.
The recipe may seem long, but it's extremely simple, I'm just describing all the little technique bits that I found make a "theoretically carbonara" into an "awesome carbonara".What you need:
- diced bacon
- one big onion, finely diced
- cream or whole milk
- 1 or 2 eggs
- black pepper
- cheese. I use a cheap aged Gouda, but use whatever melty cheese you like, that is not crappy.
- pasta, traditionally spaghetti is used, but I prefer the helix shaped pasta
which combines the large surface area to make sauce stick with ease of eating.
- (optional) a bit of homemade (chicken) stock, if it's not homemade don't bother with powder or cubes, I was aiming for the added smoothness of rendered collagen and gelatin here. Had it in the fridge anyway.
- (optional) sambal ulek (red chilli paste)
- (optional) garlic, chopped or crushed. A friend of mine told me that traditional Italian dishes use either onion or
garlic, but not both. I guess it's up to you. You can also use just garlic and no onion, although that would make the meal rather low on vegetables.
- (optional) a teaspoon of leftover bacon grease, if you happen to have itHow to prepare:
I prefer to use a sauteuse
, a frying pan with high, sloping sides that are slightly curved. I sort of timed the recipe so things are ready to be added at the right time.
Fill your electric waterboiler with water.
Start with frying the bacon on medium/high fire, if it's not very much bacon or not very fat, add the optional leftover bacon grease.
Put pasta in a pan, add salt (you can use quite a lot).
Now chop the onions and the optional garlic.
Turn on the waterboiler. Continue with the recipe, but when it boils later on, turn the fire under the pasta pan up high and add the water. Stir a littlebit. Cover with lid but leave a small gap open. Turn the fire lowest. Set a timer for 8 minutes.
Whisk the eggs with the cream/milk and black pepper in a small bowl until it's smooth. Set aside.
Add the onions to the pan on a medium/low fire. This is also when you add the optional sambal. Optional garlic goes in a littlebit later as it might burn.
Cube or grate or chop the cheese and set it aside.
If the onions start to look a littlebit dry, that is when you add a few tablespoons of stock, or if you don't have it, pasta water. Just a few spoons though, most of it should evaporate.
When the timer has 3 minutes left, add the cheese and stir until everything is melted.
Add a few spoons of hot pasta water to the egg-mixture and stir. This is called "tempering", makes the egg-mixture a bit warmer but not enough to coagulate.
When the timer goes off, the pasta should be nearly done. Throw the water down the drain and put the pasta in the frying pan.
Now comes the crucial part. Turn up the fire high and stir a bit. Turn the fire all the way down low, and add the egg mixture. Stir. Turn the fire off completely and keep stirring. The important part is that the egg will coagulate, but you cannot allow it to become curdled, the sauce should remain smooth. Keep stirring. If the mixture stays too liquid, turn on the fire again to low (not high!) and keep stirring. When it becomes creamier, turn the fire off again, and keep stirring. Keep stirring and adding the occasional heat until the sauce is nice and smooth and thick and creamy.