Wednesday 30 March 2016

Twisted Pasta Carbonara

Carbonara Pasta Twisted 

Simple, elegant, and delicious. 
Pasta Carbonara is 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 It is originally made up of spaghetti, eggs, cheese, black pepper, and bacon.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. The 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. Instead, smoked tongue, beef, or turkey could be used. 

Will serve 4 people

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
300 g/ 3/4 lb sweet capicola, in cubes
450 g/1 lb fresh chopped melange of fresh wild mushrooms
4 finely sliced green onions 
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp Madeira or Sherry wine 

500 g/ 1.1 lb fresh linguine pasta 
4 eggs 
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup  grated Pecorino or Parmesan
fresh black pepper
A dry red chili, freshly crushed 
Zest of fresh lemon

8 cups of 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 your choice of "meat," like capicola. Saute` for a few minutes and add the mushrooms. Allow it 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 and cook it for 3 to 5 minutes if using fresh pasta. Do not overcook. Remove the pasta by directly adding it to the skillet. Give it a toss and let it mix with all the juices and flavours. Allow it to simmer on a very low flame while you prepare the egg mixture. 
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk and season it with salt and lots of black pepper. 

Remove the pasta from the skillet and toss it with the egg mixture until a good glaze forms all over the pasta. 
Serve on a platter topped with red chilli flakes and grated Pecorino cheese. Adding a couple of scrapes of zest from the fresh lemon will add to its flavour. Serve immediately.

Fresh Pasta is the first option. Pick any you like; linguine, spaghetti, fettucine, angel hair, etc. It is also available in a choice of herbs: black pepper, red pepper, spinach, and basil. 
Check the pasta before removing it 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, and Assiago are all very similar and tend to have a slight tangy flavour to them. Gruyere, cheddar, or Manchego are other choices.

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is an award-winning book. It was self-published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking: Reviving an Ancient Cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through Amazon Book Depot, Book Depository, and from the publishers.

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Photo Courtesy: Smita Byramji Mama

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