There is one thing that writing Felt Like a Foodie has taught me over the years….no…it has nothing to do with food…..it has to do with the fact that I am wrong….a lot.
Every time I start to think about a particular blog, I look up words for inspiration and to make sure I am using them properly in my work. (I am laughing really hard right now…my work….like this is my art…seriously…I’m not that full of myself…well…I kind of am…but…I don’t usually let it show that much…do I?)
Back to the story…I was going to write a post on how fabulously decadent my carbonara sauce was the other day when I looked up the word decadent. I have always used it synonymously with words like luxury or rich. But guess what….I apparently am wrong! (Take a breather, I know you are shocked.)
It is used sometimes as a synonym for self-indulgence but it really has a lot more negativity in it than I ever knew. (Is there something wrong with me that I don’t think self-indulgence is negative?)
Decadence, apparently, is more known with morality, social decay and yes, turpitude. (I, looked up that word too because if I am going to admit I am wrong, I am going to admit that I’ve never used turpitude in a sentence.)
I am all torn up…how can I say my carbonara was super decadent and not be contributing to the fall of society as we know it??? Maybe the fall of society due to pasta sauce is extreme but I think of the butterfly effect (you know…one small action can have a larger effect…chaos theory…wait…this might be another blog…that I have to look up stuff on!)
Thinking about it more…my carbonara is sinful. If you need a carbonara refresher it is most simply a sauce made of egg yolks, cheese, bacon (pancetta, guanciale) and lots of pepper. The key is to make it in a way that your sauce coats each noodle, a beautiful bright yellow and no “scramble” to the egg.
How do you do that? (Well honestly, I read an interviewof one of Chicago’s best Italian chef’s, Sarah Grueneberg. I’ve seen Chef Grueneberg in action and am a fan of her food and consider her demonstrations as “teachable” moments. She does an amazing job describing techniques so that you can recreate food and have success in your own kitchen.)
I used her recipe and instructions as a guide and created a…dare I say it….a decadent pappardelle carbonara. It might become my new vice in pasta dishes but if this is as depraved as I get…society will be able to handle it.
12 ounces dry pappardelle
1 cup reserved pasta water
4 ounces pancetta
4 ounces bacon (finely chopped)
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup Romano cheese (super finely grated)
6 egg yolks
Fresh ground pepper
Cook pasta per package instructions minus 2 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE THE PASTA WILL GET MUSHY IN THE LATER STEPS IF YOU COOK IT ALL THE WAY.
Remember to reserve some of the pasta water and set it aside. I removed the pasta from the water with tongs and drained it. The water will serve as your “double boiler” later on.
While pasta is cooking, beat the egg yolks in a medium/large bowl. (Think that the bowl has to be big enough to eventually hold the pasta.)
Add the ¾ cup of the Romano cheese, a crack of pepper and set aside until the pasta is cooked.
While you are waiting…in a large skillet, heat a large swirl of olive oil over medium high heat.
Add the pancetta and cook until brown. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on some brown paper lunch bags or paper towels to drain. (Those little lunch bags are really nice for absorbing meat grease.)
Cook the bacon until it is crispy little nuggets of love. Remove from pan with slotted spoon. Do the same drain on a plate lined with towels or brown paper bags.
Eat some….because you are going to anyway so it might as well be in the instructions.
In the same pan (if there is an incredible amount of grease in the pan…drain it but a little is good), add the onion. Sauté until translucent.
Lower the heat to low add garlic. Cook another minute or so.
Add almost all of the bacon and pancetta. (Save a little for a sprinkle on top)
Add cooked pasta to the pan and coat the noodles with the onions and garlic. (It should have a nice sheen or gloss to it.)
Take your egg mixture and whisk in ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Add it super slowly so you don’t scramble your eggs.
Here is the magic…..add the pasta to the bowland using tongs toss the pasta with the egg mixture. Resist the urge to just dump the eggs into the pan. This is another place where a scramble can accidently happen.
Place this bowl over the pasta water pot and keep mixing until your sauce thickens up. If your pasta absorbed all the goodness too quickly, feel free to add some more of the pasta water.
Fill your bowls generously because that is what decadence is about sprinkle with ground pepper, reserved Romano and the reserved pancetta/bacon.