Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Comfort food # 2

A constant problem – all those medications that say ‘must be taken with food’ which is quite impossible when you’re not hungry. The answer is the cupcake. Enjoying a resurgence in fashionable foodie circles, the cupcake is a perfect medication companion in my opinion. Not too big, not too insubstantial, definitely tempting and it tastes so nice.

This one is made with a basic butter cake recipe and topped with a lime butter frosting. With a fork, cream about a tablespoon of butter with finely grated zest of a lime and a few teaspoons of lime juice. Add sifted icing sugar until it reaches frosting consistency.

Fettucine (or spaghetti) alla carbonara

So called because of the simple origins of the dish which was traditionally make by the carbonai or charchoal makers who worked for long stints in the Appenines in the Lazio region outside Rome (if only Ennis and Jack had known about this up there on Brokeback Mountain …).

Rule 1 – no cream.
Rule 2 – if you can’t get a piece of guanciale – cured and from the check of the pig – use a good pancetta
Rule 3 – very fresh eggs
Rule 4 – no cream.

To serve 2-3 people use about half a pack of good Italian dried pasta (my current favourite is Giuseppe Cocco brand) 3 large eggs, a big handful of grated parmesan (or if you like the salty sharpness, half pecorino romano and half parmesan, which is actually more authentic), one clove of garlic cut into slivers, freshly ground black pepper.

Make sure the eggs are at room temperature and warm the bowl in which you will serve the pasta. Beat the eggs lightly and mix in the cheese thoroughly. Heat a pan and fry the chopped pancetta until crisp. Just as it finishes cooking turn off the heat and add the garlic. It will turn golden in the residual heat in the pan. Cook the pasta (you know how to do that).

I prefer to do the next bit off the heat. Drain the pasta and quickly transfer it to the warm bowl, pour over the egg and cheese mixture and start tossing before the egg has a chance to set. Keep tossing and the egg sauce will thicken and start coating the pasta. Add the bacon and lots of black pepper and a drizzle of EVOO, keep tossing. You will end up with a rich glossy creamy sauce. Add extra parmesan if you wish. Yum.


Anonymous augustusgloop said...

Yum indeed! And boo to cream. It always adds an unpleasant heaviness.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Reb said...

Cream free zone on this one. And it doesn't need t either!

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Sue said...

mmmm thanks for the recipe. Must try it soon. Bring on the cold weather please!

9:48 PM  
Blogger Ange said...

That sounds delicious & reminds me I havent cooked up my own verion of carbonara in a while, love it & it is so quick to prepare - will have to cook up a bowl full soon!

2:37 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

Thanks Sue: Ah yes - the cold weather! Counting down the days.

Thanks Ange: The old carbonara is true comfort food!

7:29 AM  

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