Monday, July 10, 2006

myth busted


it was once believed by the worst kind of la porchetta customers, that carbonara contained cream, bacon, chives and sometimes even mushrooms. this is a shameful lie. this is what you should make carbonara from:

eggs - obviously get the most precious ones from the chickens what run free
spaghetti - i always use barilla
parmesan - anything good but i've become enamoured of south cape
prosciutto - or pancetta if you want to be difficult, never bacon or ham
italian parsley - a big bunch from gangemi's at barkly square
cracked pepper - in quantities bigger than you would think is appropriate

gently crisp the prosciutto, lay on paper to defat-imify and get crunchy. grate the parmesan very finely, so it will melt into the eggy mixture later. chop the parsley however you please [i do it rough]. beat the eggs [see, told you i was rough] very aggressively, until they are full of air. chuck the pasta on and cook it a tiny bit less than al dente. once it has drained and isn't leaking water anymore, toss it back in the pasta pot on a VERY LOW HEAT. this couldn't be more important - go as low as you can. at this stage, i mix the parmesan in with the egg mix and then gently pour it on the pasta. from now on, the pasta may not have a rest. it cannot be still again until it's on the plate. turn it slowly and repeatedly [this is boring and should be farmed out as a task to guests so you can pash someone on your stirring breaks]. crumble the prosciutto into the pot and start cracking pepper in too. in goes the parsley and remember that the whole thing can't stop moving while you faff around with the extra bits.

this part takes a fair amount of time [compared to the relative ease and speed of preparation] so it will be a test of your patience. if you get impatient and turn up the heat, or nick off somewhere to feel someone up, your egg might cook into actual little scrambles and then you're fucked. well, you'll have a less than appetising meal on your hands anyway...THUS ENDETH THE HOMILY.

okay. when the mix is hot and the egg has become a silky, glisteny, creamy sauce you can remove the pasta from the heat and get it onto plates toot sweet.

more cracked pepper, more parmesan if you're a fiend, and a sprinkle of parsley on top if you're a show-off. this is even better with really good bread and thick wads of butter.

*with apologies to the fine photographers i share this site with. mea culpa. i was hungover and hungry.



TOBYtoby said...

I snucked some Tabasco on mine when no-one was looking and it was AWESOME.

mskp said...


Rach said...

(a) I literally had no idea that carbonara wasn't just pasta and greasy, seperated cream. I shall try this.

(b) The worst part about being vegetarian is that there is no substitute for bacon or any other smoked pork product. I wonder if I could make it work anyway?

(c) 'this is boring and should be farmed out as a task to guests so you can pash someone on your stirring breaks.' Go you good thing. I once spoiled a very nice frypan because a rather saucy (chortle HOW PUNNY) lady was in the kitchen and I'd rather busy myself with her than the risotto.

mskp said...

oh rach, a woman after me own heart.* what good is trying to impress someone with your cooking if you can't cop a feel? and i reckon the carbonara sans pork would still be pretty tasty. shiny eggy cheesy peppery parsley-y noodles? come on!

*only with infinitely better lensmanship. and much prettier dresses.

Jobe said...

Oh that looks simply delightful.

I would probably put some smoked salmon in there too. That would be devine. Possibly in lieu of bacon and maybe capers too. Yeeeees.

mskp said...

jobe, that is inspired. i've done a version of this with anchovies and capers, substituting the parsley for rocket - delicious.

rubydoomsday said...


i like you even more now; when people reach for the cream in a carbonara, i want to SCREAM! that's an alfredo, cunt. and only if you fold it with a gold fork, by hand, using four different cheeses. in rome. and your name's alfredo.

carbonara means 'chimneysweep' and it's called that because the black pepper you crack onto the egg sauce supposedly resembles soot. ain't that cute? not to sound like a tosser (much) but i made a *point* of writing about this for LP in my italy chapters.

ike all the best italian food, it's a peasant dish, developed around means, and what could be easier than two frickin' eggs and a small lump of cheese for a sauce? okay, so maybe the farmer/landowner likes you and slings you a strip of pork belly... parsley grew (and grows) wild easily in the med etc etc. the rest is pr bullshit and cream is the frenchies' fault, mostly.

i hate it when people wank up simple cooking.

kudos, five-and-a-little-odd foot of cunt.