Monday, May 23, 2005


Pasta Carbonara

Is it Monday already? Where DID the weekend go? I spent the last few days in a serene food daze, checking out the markets in my local area (some of which I will report on later) and am pleased as punch to announce (because this is extra useful information, I’m sure) that Sainsburys and Waitrose have both earned my seal of approval as well stocked markets. I may miss my Trader Joes and the ever-fab Whole Foods, but for all my staples needs, I trust those two to keep my spirits up.

There is also a store called Tesco that seems to be a little more downmarket (ok, its just icky) and just my luck, is where, at EXACTLY 11:00 pm, the registers stop being able to ring up alcohol. So if, say, the man in line in front of you was a bit chatty, and had to count his change three times, so when you get your booze up the belt at 11:01 its no-can-do for you sweet cheeks, and you shall remain sober, and your coq au vin dreams for the next day will be dashed. I have already formed some opinions on alcohol laws and consumption here in Merry Old, (which I will bite my tongue over, for now) but that 11 o’clock cut off really made me pout.

Moving right along…after a full weekend, it was suddenly time for dinner on Sunday and my brain wasn’t having it so I brought this together, my version of Pasta Carbonara, a fantastic, classic Italian dish. I love it because it is luscious and creamy, decadent, yet delicate and a breeze to make. Try it, and enjoy.

1 pound dried pasta (I used medium shells, spaghetti is more traditional)
6 thick slices pancetta
1 medium onion, large dice
½ cup peas (I love frozen peas, they are the only frozen veg I usually tolerate)
3 egg yolks – room temperature ( This is vital. If they are chilled they won't cook by the residual heat of the pasta)
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream (oh come on, live a little)
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated (and more for serving)
1 tablespoon butter
tiny pinch of nutmeg

Combine the yolks, wine, cream, cheese and butter in a bowl. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a roiling boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente.

On another burner, in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat, cook the pancetta until browned, draining often . Remove and wipe out the pan, reduce the heat to medium.

Add the onions and cook until translucent (about 6 minutes), try not to let them brown. Remove the pan from the heat
When the pasta is cooked, drain well and add to the pan with the onions and cream mixture. Stir well until the cheese it totally melted. The heat of the pasta is enough to cook the yolks, but if you have concerns about salmonella return the pan to the heat and let cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Add the pancetta and serve.

Serves four


Among cablers, Food Network
Food Network won two (Daytime Emmy’s) when a pair of its celebrity chefs, Bobby Flay and Michael Chiarello, tied for the Emmy for service show hosts. -

Pancetta is a large slice of pork fat back, cured with salt, spices, and herbs

May 23rd is National Taffy Day

I LOVE Sainsbury's, one of my favourite things about the UK --- they have this fabulous Irish cheddar cheese infused with Dijon mustard that I have not been able to find elsewhere, though not for lack of trying

Back in Canada, I too am a Whole Foods junkie

Great blog!
I'll have to look for that cheese, thanks for the tip!
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