Sins against Italy – Carbonara

20131124-183313.jpgThe temperature in Chicago this morning was in the single digits. This isn’t OK. After I returned from California a few months ago, I realized that living in Chicago is a choice. I’ve deemed it a bad choice.

Nevertheless, cold weather is good for a few things:

  • Selling clothes
  • Killing off germs
  • Exposing people’s true self. Everyone’s nice when it’s 78 and sunny, but few people are nice in an arctic tundra.
  • Justifying eating more carbs

To the dismay of my female friends, I’ve yet–and hopefully never–to have any issues with carbs and gaining weight. I credit my Italian ancestry for this evolutionary advantage.

Tonight’s dinner was my first attempt at the Italian classic, pasta carbonara. I rarely have bacon in the house, so almost every dish I’ve made this past week has included a few strips. You may be asking yourself, “Why does he still have bacon left?” Valid question, but you’re the one talking to yourself.

This is often described as one of the easiest dishes in the Italian cookbook. None of the techniques required are difficult, nor does this take a lot of time. But it does require cheese–Parmesan or Pecorino. I had neither in the house and it’s too damn cold to go out again. Thusly, committing one of the gravest of sins for an Italian. I fear that if my ancestors saw the cheese-less atrocity tonight, they’ll curse me with pots of water that will never boil.

Here’s the rundown:

Serves 2-4, depending if anyone is hangry.

  • 1lb pasta, typically spaghetti or farfalle. I had rigatoni and campanelle
  • 2-4 strips of bacon, cut into squares (this is why I still have bacon)
  • handful or two of frozen peas
  • 4-6 kale leaves (cleaning out the fridge)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese. Other recipes call for cheese and cream/milk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp of bread crumbs
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Salt/pepper
  1. Cook the pasta as directed.
  2. In a frying pan, cook the bacon. Once it’s getting crispy, use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and place onto a paper towel. Bikini season may seem far away, but so will your toes if you eat a quart of bacon fat.
  3. Add the kale and garlic to the frying pan/bacon grease. Let cook on low for 3 minutes.
  4. The pasta should be done by now (~10 minutes). Drain it and save a half cup of pasta water.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, separate the egg yolks from the rest of the eggs. I’ll have to post a video of this at some point too. There are also lil gadgets you can use. Or you can use your manos. Beat the yolks with the cheese. Add the drained pasta to the yolks/cheese. Add the bacon and kale. Top with some bread crumbs and salt/pepper.
  6. Take a pic and post on instagram with the #bachelorbasics.

 

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