Twisted Pasta Carbonara
Simple, elegant and delicious.
Pasta Carbonara, a staple on most Italian menu cards. It is originally made up of Spaghetti, eggs, cheese, black pepper and bacon.
I have used fresh pasta linguine, which has mixed herbs in it. With it I use a few other ingredients like mushrooms, green onions and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Flavours of the meat can be your favourite; Here I have used sweet Capocollo/cappicola,capicollo or capicolla It could be hot if you preferred. Smoked tongue, beef, turkey could be added instead.
Will serve 4 persons
1 tsbp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
300gm/3/4 lb sweet capicola, in cubes
450gm/1 lb fresh chopped melange of fresh wild mushrooms
4 finely sliced green onions; from top to tip
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sherry or Madeira wine
500gm/1 lb fresh linguine pasta
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan
fresh black pepper
fresh crushed dry red chillie
Zest of fresh lemon
8 cups salted boiling hot water,with a tablespoon of olive oil to cook the pasta.
In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter. Add the garlic, and the choice of 'meat' like capicola. Saute` for a few minutes and add the mushrooms. Allow to cook for a couple of minutes until it softens, stirring it from time to time. Add the green onions, salt and sherry or Madeira.
Lower the heat and keep warm
Place the pasta of choice in your pan of boiling water, cook it for 3 to 5 minutes if using fresh pasta. Do not over cook. Remove the pasta, directly adding it to the skillet. Give it a toss and let it mix with all the juices and flavours. Allow to simmer on a very low flame while you prepare the egg mixture.
in a large bowl beat the eggs. Add the milk, season it with salt and lots of black pepper.
Remove the skillet of pasta from the heat, pour the egg mix all over tossing it well until a good glaze forms all over the pasta.
Pour into a serving platter, sprinkle with red chillie flakes and the grated Pecorino cheese. Adding a couple of scrapes of zest off the fresh lemon will add to its flavour. Serve immediately.
Fresh Pasta is the first option. Pick any you favour, linguine, spaghetti, fettucine, angel hair etc. It is also available in a choice of herb, black pepper, red pepper, spinach and basil.
Check the pasta before removing from the cooking pot of boiling water, it should be just done and not raw nor over cooked.
Just using the egg yolks and substituting cream for milk will give the carbonara a creamier feel, if you prefer. It will also have less "sauce" at the end.
Substitute any hard cheese that is your favourite. Parmesan, Pecorino, Grano Padano, Assiago are all very similar and tend to have a slight tangy flavour to it. Gruyere, cheddar
or Manchego are other choices.
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Photo Courtesy: Smita Byramji Mama