Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rigatoni alla Carbonara [Nick]

Slowly crank up the decibel level on your ipod and bring those slow, seductive John Legend tunes to the ears of your lady-friend, because this meal is about to get sexy.

Scenario: cute girl, she's got a knack for you, but you still desperately want to impress her. Well've got to croon for the ladies to swoon (and if you're like me and can't is the best plan for you...)

It's called Rigatoni alla Carbonara. This meal was created as a quintessential "working man's" meal in Italy for coal miners way back in the day. As time has passed, the dish has evolved and only a few restaurants and individuals have seemed to perfect it (including my mother). Unfortunately, Americans have turned the dish into an Alfredo pasta with bacon which, after traveling to Italy, saddens me beyond all measure.

So here it is, the simple meal with simple ingredients that will turn up the volume on your cooking game...


Start by taking the cut of pancetta and slice small, roughly 1/2 inch pieces on a cutting board. Turn your heat to medium/high under a frying pan and cook these little slices of heaven like you would any regular bacon (crispy is better for contrast in the pasta). Once they are done, put them aside and put a large pot of water on the stove (add salt to the water for flavor and an increased boiling point). While the water is beginning to get hot, cut up the 1/2 small white onion, and sauté it in a frying pan. Once the onion appears soft, toss in the 5 cloves of minced garlic for a quick minute (do not let the garlic get overly brown!).

The most crucial part of this dish are the eggs. Differing from other carbonara dishes I've had in the past, and yet replicating the Roman archetype, I use only the egg yolks. The best method to get only the yolk is to crack the egg and use your fingers as a strainer. Eventually, you will see that the yolk is easy to cradle (maybe practice on an egg or two before you invite that nice lady-friend of yours over). Take the 12 egg yolks and mix them together in a bowl. As this is going on, you should be cooking your rigatoni pasta (stirring every minute or so). Once the pasta has cooked for 10-12 minutes, test a noodle and see if it has the texture you enjoy (maybe a little more al dente, maybe a little less).

Now you are ready for the final and easiest step. Strain the pasta, leaving a very small amount of residual water from the cooked noodles. Add the 12 egg yolks to the dish, the chopped onion and the diced garlic. Toss in the pancetta and 1/2 cup of grated parmigiana reggiano.

All the while, you should be stirring the pot of pasta. (note: keep the heat on very low at the bottom of the pot while you are stirring, as the noodles tend to get cold quickly) Add in a pinch of Sea Salt (but remember, the cheese is already salty so don't ruin it!) Finally, liberally add fresh ground black pepper for some pizazz. Give the pot a few more stirs and plate the pasta.


3/4lb Rigatoni
12 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Grated Parmigiana Reggiano
1/4lb Pancetta
1/2 Diced Small White Onion
5 Minced Garlic Cloves
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Sea Salt

At this point, your lady should already be so impressed that if your dish turns out halfway decent, she will likely still be sticking around.

In addition to my carbonara, I added a simple green salad with some oil/vinegar dressing, pecans, and shaved parmigiana.

Oh baby! What's cookin'??

As the Koulermos family continues to make more posts, it should come as no surprise that more carbonara recipes will be added. Why, you might ask? Why on earth do you keep posting about this dish you crazy Koulermi!!?? Simple: in the world of pastas, carbonara is king.

Enjoy your dish with some Legend...
John Legend - Each Day Gets Better

1 comment:

  1. Dude, that looks identical to Perilli's in Rome! Great pictures too - it even makes my crave it at 6:30 am haha