Monday, October 15, 2007

Spaghetti Carbonara

I feel like I've cheated on Lidia. She has always been my go-to gal for all things Italian, but SP has never been a fan of her Spaghetti Carbonara (linguine with bacon and onions), one of my staple comfort foods. He asked if I could make the dish creamier at about the same time I started seeing other blogs mention Nigella Lawson's Spaghetti Carbonara recipe. The two recipes are quite different but I had a feeling Nigella's would provide that creaminess SP was after.

Right off the bat I liked Nigella's recipe better. For starters it was easier to make. I substituted regular bacon for pancetta and added onions because we like the flavor, but otherwise I kept the recipe the same. The prep couldn't have been easier and the assembly went much more smoothly since I didn't have to juggle a hot pan and egg yolks. The sauce ingredients are mixed together beforehand and added slowly to the pasta, off the heat, so there's no worrying about whether it'll all come together.

And the taste...oh the taste. Creamy, bacony, oniony, with just a hint of white wine and nutmeg (the two "secret" ingredients). It actually tastes almost exactly like Lidia's recipe, only it was easier to put together and you could actually see the sauce clinging to the strands of pasta. SP said I could make this dish for him anytime, his highest compliment. I'm sorry Lidia, but Nigella wins this round.
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  1. Great pic! I am going to have to try this.

  2. Melissa - Thanks! It's a fantastic recipe. :)

  3. I just love Nigella! This does look really creamy. Yum!

  4. I know this recipe is a "standard" for you guys - but I have never tried carbonara. I'll attempt it soon, and I'll probably try this new recipe you found.

  5. Yum, that looks good! Does it call for a raw egg at the end? That freaks me out, but I swear I've eaten it at restaurants and it's all good. The egg does get cooked because of the heat, but still, hehe. :)

  6. Carrie - Definitely creamy, just the way SP likes it. :)

    Melissa - It's a great go-to recipe since we usually have all the ingredients on hand. This Nigella recipe would be great for first-timers since it really is super simple to make.

    Katie - Yup - 4 raw eggs are beaten with heavy cream, cheese, salt and pepper. I totally understand being freaked out, but if you eat eggs over-easy you've had rawer egg then the egg in this dish. Just try not to think about it and concentrate on the finished product. :)

  7. Have no fear of raw eggs...ever eat raw cookie dough, real Caesar salad dressing, real mayonnaise, sushi?

    Alton Brown addresses Salmonella on one of his episodes, and if you have faith in our current technology & food processing practices (sure there are the exceptions)you shouldn't have any real concerns.

    After all, remember Rocky's energy drink?? He was ripped, not stricken with salmonella :)

    Besides if you're that worried, have a shot or two of your favorite vodka (preferably a Polish one) and the alcohol should take care of any bacteria!!



    No I don't work for the FDA, nor am I a doctor, scientist, lunatic, or axe murderer, and if you get sick from eating raw eggs, well don't blame it on me :) I didn't force you to :)

  8. The reason why Nigella's looks creamier than Lidia's is b/c she uses cream in her recipe. Lidia is a true purist and, obviously, a real Italian. She does not add cream in her carbonara recipe because you will not find Italians using cream in their carbonara. It's not traditional. I'm sure it gives it a different consistancy, but purists of Italian food will tell you not to do it! I made a little concoction the other night, kind of like a cream carbonara/cacio e pepe WITH cream, but I used marsala wine instead of white... it worked really well. I'd recommend trying this. Amy @

  9. longhair - Thank you for that thorough explanation. :) I'm glad someone watches Alton; I'm sure he has great tips but I can't stand the man.

    Amy - Hi! Welcome. :)

    I agree about Nigella's recipe not being authentic, but in my opinion that's OK. I love Lidia and her recipes but sometimes I want to change things up and bastardize it, if you will.

    I like the sound of carbonara and marsala...I'll definitely check out your blog. :)


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