Linguine alla Carbonara
I’ve been addicted to reddit for about 9 months now. For those of you who don’t know about the site, steer clear of it. It’s foul and catty and full of trolls and jerks and gratuitous nudity, swearing, and violence. For those of you who do know about it, isn’t it just wonderful? Talk about a time sink. I’ll tell myself at 10 o’clock that it’s time to go to bed. At 11, I’m still looking at stupid cat pictures and laughing at memes of awkward social faux pas. Luckily for me, the “front page” stagnates in several hour increments, so it’s mostly become a morning and night endeavor. Doesn’t mean I don’t religiously check the damn site a billion times a day. But seeing all the clicked purple links lets me know nothing has changed and I can carry on with my day.
The fun thing I like about reddit is that yea, it’s filled with jerks and know-it-alls, but there’s a huge sense of community. What’s that you say? A guy makes a passing comment about not having food until Friday when his paycheck gets deposited? reddit to the rescue! Let’s band together and send the guy a dozen pizzas! Oh, and this little girl with a terminal illness wants holiday or birthday cards this year? Bombard her with ALL the cards in existence! Seriously, the amount of times I’ve witnessed this kind of thing happen restores my faith in humanity just a little bit. And then there’s the various gift exchanges that happen throughout the year. Halloween, Christmas, for teachers, for Joss Whedon or Breaking Bad fans, for knitters, for cooking enthusiasts or book lovers. The list goes on. Pretty much anything you can think of (within reason), there’s an exchange for it. I participated in the Secret Santa and holiday card exchange this season. It was a lot of fun. I also won a Squishable penguin by entering a contest that entailed editing your Squishable of choice (under $40) into your dream job. I photoshopped a penguin into a bakery. Gave him a little chef’s hat, a wooden spoon, and a loaf of bread. I came in second. Got my penguin in the mail yesterday. It’s huge. Like, bigger than the dog.
I swear, there’s a point to all this reddit talk. Bear with me!
One of the main facets of reddit is the idea of a “sub” or “sub-reddit” – basically, categories/communities for various topics. There’s the obvious ones you see on a regular basis, like /aww, /funny, and /pics, which are sort of the generic catch-alls, then there’s other ones like /knitting, /food, /foodhacks, /WoW (Warcraft), and ones that aren’t so light and fluffy. I won’t delve into the details of just how foul some of the subs are out there, but you don’t have to subscribe to them and those dark, scary niches of filth and horror can play by themselves in a corner. My little list of subs really is little. But some of my favorites are in fact the ones I’ve just listed. The food one is a great place for me. I get to see delicious food from places around the globe and I get to share my creations with them as well. All for invisible, magical, imaginary points that don’t mean anything.
Anyway, the week of Christmas, someone posted a recipe and how-to in photos in the food sub, detailing his family’s carbonara. I instantly decided it was what I was making for dinner for New Years eve, with some fresh baked bread, bookmarked it, and went in search of guanciale. Pork cheek, if you will. I was both surprised and honestly, not surprised, that I couldn’t find pork cheek out here. There’s a lot of food that we can’t get our hands on easily. The nice thing about the recipe this man posted was his suggestion of using a good, smoked bacon in place of the guanciale. So that’s what I did. I got a few pieces wrapped up for me from the butcher at my local market and on my way out of the meat section, I saw small packages of pork cheek at the end of a row of hams. -________- Oh well. For next time.
The ease of this recipe is ridiculous. It takes no time at all. Frying up the pig takes the longest, but it’s not difficult by any means. Also, don’t be put off by the fact that it’s raw eggs. How many people eat this on a regular basis? Hundreds, thousands, millions. None of them get sick. I have a semi-sensitive stomach and this was like comfort food for me. It doesn’t taste eggy, either, so don’t try to pooh-pooh the recipe because you don’t want to eat eggs for dinner. Just don’t do what The Fellow™ did with the leftovers and microwave them. Doing so will yield scrambled eggs. The best way to re-heat leftovers is in a lightly warm skillet. Others have suggested adding milk, cream, or butter to the warming leftovers, but I feel that would change the dish entirely since the original recipe does not call for it. If you’re lucky, you won’t have leftovers and it will be a non-issue.
Linguine alla Carbonara
source: some guy on reddit [Pasta alla Carbonara]
4 large egg yolks + 1 large egg
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano or parmigiano cheese
5.5 ounces guanciale, diced
8 ounces pasta (linguine or spaghetti)
1. Heat a skillet over medium and toss in the guanciale or bacon. Let cook until crispy. Drain off excess fat and set aside to cool. You don’t want to add hot, greasy bacon or pork cheek to the egg mixture.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together until combined and smooth. Add in the cheese, mixing well. Sprinkle in the pepper. If sauce is too thick, you can add pasta water, a little at a time, until it’s a creamy consistency. Once the meat is cooled, add it to the eggs.
3. Cook the noodles until just al dente. Drain water from noodles; reserve some of the water from the pot if necessary for the sauce.
4. Once sauce is the proper consistency, combine the noodles with the egg mixture. Toss the pasta until completely saturated with the sauce.