Map Database  •  FAQ  •  RSS  •  Register  •  Login

"American" Carbonara for Black

<<

Ben

User avatar

Prince Lothar

Posts: 3801

Joined: 08 Jan 2009, 23:00

Location: United States of America GMT-5 (Standard Time)

KaM Skill Level: Beginner

Post 01 Nov 2018, 16:08

"American" Carbonara for Black

Forgive me for spamming the forum with ridiculously off topic contributions, but if you follow the minichat, you would have seen the dialog between myself and our dear Italian member, Black. A long time ago, he introduced me to a very obscure dish in America called carbonara. It's a simple traditional Italian dish with five ingredients: Spaghetti, black pepper, egg, pecorino romano, and guanciale. The last two of the five are very difficult to find in remote areas in America, an area category that I fall into.

I eventually was able to find them all when visiting my uncle who lives in the city. I prepared a traditional carbonara in his kitchen but it was a disaster. I was working with unfamiliar ingredients in an unfamiliar kitchen with cheap tools and pre ground, old pepper (pre ground pepper is already bad normally, but in a simple dish like carbonara, the stale, bitter flavor stands out even more). I also did not care really for the guanciale. It will take some time for my palette to appreciate it (or maybe the guanciale I found was not high quality. I have no idea it was the first time I tried it). It also did not cook even in the cheap pan I was using. It's hard to use other people's equipment! The pecorino was also way too sharp for my palette. I needed something more mild. Thankfully, most Italians accept using parmesan in carbonara, a much more familiar flavor for Americans.

So my goal was this: Make it again, but use use better tools, better quality ingredients, and more familiar ingredients! This dish will no doubt earn me some flack among italians, but thankfully none live by me. I should be safe until they send the Mafia. Below is my preparation:






First up is the spaghetti. I didn't actually take pictures because it's just throwing noodles into a pan of boiling water. I only moderately salted the water since the bacon is quite salty already. I like al dente noodles, but these do need to be cooked fully since the cooking will stop immediately after taking the noodles out (we need them cool so we don't cook the egg)

For the meat, I wanted to use pancetta, but even that is brutally hard to find where I live. I visited an old-school grocer and was able to find some beautiful slab bacon. Seriously this stuff is gorgeous. I love slab bacon. It is no more expensive than high quality bacon at the typical store so this is an easy win. I sliced it into thick chunks with lots of fat. This will help make a good, thick sauce. There is about..three ounces here? Doesn't matter really, just slice the amount you want to eat. I'm only cooking for myself so this is plenty.

Image

I fried it in my small cast iron pan. This should help create an even crispiness on the pork.

Image

So what of the cheese? Until making this dish, I did not think too highly of parmesan either. In America, we have this powder-like parmesan that comes in a can. It's horrible. Let's skip that and use Sartori, my favorite cheese brand that comes from America. This is a lovely parmesan that has lots of nutty and fruity flavors, which are my favorite in a cheese. I cut about two ounces here, but I'm not a fan of using too much cheese, so I ended up eating about half this as a snack later on. (Do not worry, though it is a bit close for comfort, I did not mix the uncooked pork with the cheese, nor use the same knife to slice it)

Image

Here is my first mistake. Using factory eggs. One advantage of living in the countryside is easy access to farm-fresh eggs (which are almost essential in this dish) but I did not have any on hand today. Oh well. Here is some stock footage of boring eggs

Image

I grated some of the delicious cheese into a whipped egg mixture. I used one whole egg and one egg yolk for my dish, which was the perfect amount. I ground black pepper but I have no good way to tell how much was here. Just use your instinct I guess.

Image

After the noodles were finished, I added them, with lots of pasta water, to the pan. I made a horrible mess here, so to prevent splatter, I'll probably wait for it to cool a bit more in the future. You can see the beginnings of the emulsified sauce.

Image

Now we just need to add the eggs to the mixture in the pan. I didn't take a picture here because it was too hot. I waited till the pan was quiet (no more sizzling), but it was still too hot. I had to work quickly to prevent the eggs from forming curds. Since I have no picture of this step, I'll just skip to the prepared plate. It was very good with white wine. I enjoyed it a lot. It was very basic, with a nice thick sauce. I will surely make it again, but with more personal touch. It needed more seasoning. I suspect that this is because guanciale is heavily seasoned with potent spices. Next time I will roast these spices into the mixture.

Image

All in all, it was a very nice dish! Very easy to make and not expensive at all.
#thunderposting #greentornado
<<

Esthlos

User avatar

Knight

Posts: 672

Joined: 23 Jun 2013, 16:02

KaM Skill Level: Beginner

Post 01 Nov 2018, 19:02

Re: "American" Carbonara for Black

Image

Just kidding :P

It looks good!
Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way, even though it may seem silly or wrong. You must try! - John Keating, "Dead Poets Society"
<<

Black

User avatar

Warrior

Posts: 113

Joined: 20 May 2015, 20:14

Location: Italy

KaM Skill Level: Average

Post 03 Nov 2018, 12:00

Re: "American" Carbonara for Black

Wow, Really good one Ben, except for the Pecorino, you made the Carbonara as it really should be. You've also worried about ingredients more than people here usually do. It's not strange see Carbonara with prepackaged bacon/Guanciale or Pecorino. For the eggs, in city it's quite impossible find eggs from farms, except if you have a relative who live in the countryside( which sadly is not so big like in USA).
Actually only in Rome area you will find a real Carbonara, in other parts of Italy it's not so easy, even in Restaurants. It's the same for lots of regional receipt. The original ones are made only in the 'born' area.


Your Carbonara has for sure better raw materials than lots of italian's one and besides you follow the original receipt.
So now you know how to do it, enjoy this plate.No Italian can say you anything about this, that's for sure ;)

P.s
For the seasoning : You should use some border pieces of guanciale's slab, the ones with spices on it. You can also buy these spices separately, if you want to add more of them. This will give a strong seasoning to your plate. You should also consider that Carbonara is the mash up of 3 strong flavors( Pecorino, eggs and guanciale), this is why nothing else is really needed to enjoy more the contrast.

Return to General Chit Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest