Benatar's Spaghetti alla Carbonara

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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/12/05 06:33 PM

Just got my March issue in the mail (WOW)
I normally would not post something like this, but...since it was an article in the magazine, I hope that the editor would not mind....

The article is funny, but being Italian I can't help providing several corrections (for better results)

1. a silver dollar of salt ain't enough. This is a very important point. For a normal decent size pot (say for 4 people) you need one to two handful of salt. Just enough to actually give the water a light flavor.
If you add too little it's like doing nothing and the pasta will not be good no matter what sauce you make. If you taste the pasta during cooking and it tastes too salty then you put too much, and you can quickly rinse some off with hot fresh water when you drain it. In italy we say that the pasta is "sciocca" (dumb) if you did not add enough salt in the water.

2. Oil, onion, garlic, cream ... are a big no-no for Carbonara; much easier. Here's how you do it:

As the pasta is cooking brown on low heat the bacon pieces in butter (say a small spoon a person); the better the butter the better the result; use Plugra or Lurpak) The butter should not burn. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, roughly one a person, maybe less. When the pasta is "al dente"
(and you DON'T throw it to see if it sticks!)
you toss it in the pan with the bacon, and on top of it you toss the beaten eggs. The eggs should not cook to the point where they become "pasta with scrambled eggs". You should just toss the pasta in the pan a few times and let it stay kinda creamy. Add a lot of black pepper, and grated fresh parmesan cheese (not the plastic American version)

This is how it's done. Not as magical as the article...but ...I had to say it. Try it!

Carlo
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Postby Mike Rubinstein » 02/12/05 07:43 PM

I didn't see the article, but having lived in Italy and having eaten Spaghetti Carbonara in many different Italian Trattorie, I can tell you that the BEST recipe is the one that I am going to reveal here....and it doesn't conform to the norm (and in fact, some may not consider it true carbonara, but it rocks!). Slice a medium sized onion into thin slices, and then cut each slice into tiny pieces of onion. Get a container of mushrooms, and slice them up as well. Get a handful of Italian Parsley, and chop it up into fine pieces. Last, and here is where it gets controversial, do not use bacon or ham. Get Italian sweet sausage, and take off the skin.
Now, in Olive Oil (extra virgin, of course), fry up the onions, and when they seem to be getting soft, add the mushrooms. Continue to fry, and when the mushrooms look cooked, add the parsley. Then break off little meatballs of sausage, and toss them into the pan as well( the more, the better). As you are cooking, add salt and pepper (should be a tad on the salty side), and red pepper if you want it to have a "bite" to it.
OK, you are cooking a pack (1 lb)of spaghetti on the side. When that is ready, put it into a big bowl.
Now, for the mix. First, mix in the fried stuff. Then , add two eggs, one at a time, mixing well. If you don't put in the fried stuff first, the egg will not cook right. Then, add parmegian cheese, enough to really be able to taste it (not a sprinkle, go for the gold!). And that's it!
And for those bacon carbonara lovers, all I can say is don't knock it until you've tried it!
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 02/13/05 02:02 AM

Mind you, I don't really throw the pasta. It's just part of the show. Suggestions from such qualified sources are appreciated. I'll try it all. Thank you guys.
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Postby Guest » 02/14/05 02:32 AM

I am very sorry, but you mast Love Pasta Carbonara to be able to cook it.
In Italy we dont use Cream amd Butter. Just in the resturant for turist. Is like in Close up. We do normal think only for american...
The ONLY way to cook is:
4 pp.
two handful of pasta salt (the big cristal) in a lot of water.
6 Hg of spaghetti.
2 eggs
bacon cut in little cube
half onion (red)
OLIVE OIL (not butter)
milk
Parmesan and.....Roman Pecorino (half and half)
The way to cook is too long (quite good the dascription of Carlo) but the secret is:
Put a little drop of milk (and salt) in the egg because they are not become scrambled,when you put it with pasta.
Put parmesan and pecorino toghether (not all) with two spoon of boiled water to make a real Italian Creem.
At the end some more cheese on top.
Next time i explaine you the Italian way to magic.....
Byby
Star
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 02/14/05 05:48 AM

Franco Marenghi, director of the magazine "L'Accademia Italiana della Cucina" does use butter and cream (Tuttopasta, 1990, Ed. Mondadori). I suppose there are more versions of Carbonara than towns in Italy.
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Postby Bill Wells » 02/14/05 08:03 AM

Unfortunately, I havaen't seen the March issue yet, but in looking over these great recipes I would urge the use of Pancetta which is salt cured rather than smoke cured as is most American bacon and, by all means, use Parmigiano Reggiano and not some off the shelf grated parmesan cheese. It costs more but is well worth the money.

As to the variations, Biba Caggiano says in one of her books - "I have never found two Italian chefs who serve the same version of this popular Roman dish".
Bill Wells
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/14/05 11:26 AM

Originally posted by Star:
I am very sorry, but you mast Love Pasta Carbonara to be able to cook it.
In Italy we dont use Cream amd Butter. Just in the resturant for turist. Is like in Close up. We do normal think only for american...
The ONLY way to cook is:
4 pp.
two handful of pasta salt (the big cristal) in a lot of water.
6 Hg of spaghetti.
2 eggs
bacon cut in little cube
half onion (red)
OLIVE OIL (not butter)
milk
Parmesan and.....Roman Pecorino (half and half)
The way to cook is too long (quite good the dascription of Carlo) but the secret is:
Put a little drop of milk (and salt) in the egg because they are not become scrambled,when you put it with pasta.
Put parmesan and pecorino toghether (not all) with two spoon of boiled water to make a real Italian Creem.
At the end some more cheese on top.
Next time i explaine you the Italian way to magic.....
Byby
Star
Sorry but no...this is not at all the ONLY way to do it. you being an Italian you should not write such things! It is true that there are people even in italy who insist that there should be onions, parsley, cream of some sort etc. but the most accepted truth among the experts is that the "real" carbonara should in fact be done even slightly differently than what I proposed:

1. one egg yolk per 100 grams of pasta
2. pancetta affumicata (smoked)

put the cubed pancetta in the pan with NO other fat. let it cook slowly in low heat while the pasta cooks.

beat the yolks in a serving bowl.
when the pasta is ready toss it in the pan.
toss the pasta in the bowl with the yolks and stir. add a generous amount of black pepper, and parmesan/pecorino NOT romano.

If it's too dense you can add (as "Star" suggests) some boiling water that you saved.

Onion: bad since it kills the other flavors
Romano: bad since it's also too strong

Variations: add a few pieces of sausage in the pan,add some fat to reduce the amount of pancetta fat (I think butter is better than oil)

Carlo
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/14/05 11:30 AM

Originally posted by Rafael Benatar:
Franco Marenghi, director of the magazine "L'Accademia Italiana della Cucina" does use butter and cream (Tuttopasta, 1990, Ed. Mondadori). I suppose there are more versions of Carbonara than towns in Italy.
Rafael, the only way is to actually try all these different versions, to see what the reactions are. Even for yourself only....
Sometimes a very simple recipe is really great...
For example, one should try out sauteing the bacon with a little butter, or with a little oil, or with nothing at all, and leaving everything else the same. I think that if one is going to add Parmesan or Pecorino in the end, butter is better suited than oil with it.

Then you can try to toss the yolks in the pasta
and toss the whole thing around quickly, as opposed to toss the pasta in the yolk bowl.
etc.

Carlo
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/14/05 11:38 AM

Originally posted by Carlo Morpurgo:

Then you can try to toss the yolks in the pasta
and toss the whole thing around quickly, as opposed to toss the pasta in the yolk bowl.
etc.

Carlo [/QB]
i meant : toss the pasta in the pan, then the yolks in the pan and toss the whole thing quickly, as opposed to toss the pasta and the bacon in the bowl where the yolks are.

carlo
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/14/05 01:00 PM

And use GREEK Olive Oil!!! :genii:
Stay tooned.
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Postby BlueEyed Videot » 02/14/05 01:26 PM

Or throw in a live chicken and use GEEK olive oil!
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Postby Mike Rubinstein » 02/14/05 05:29 PM

Live chicken? that would be EEEK olive oil!
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Postby Guest » 02/14/05 09:31 PM

This is my recipe for keeping my old man fat and sassy...

Red Neck Carbonara

If you want to make this fancy for the kinfolk when they comes to callin, just throw in some cut up wieners, or more likely, some Spam. Damn fine eatin!


1 pound elbow macaroni
8 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
12 ounces evaporated milk
2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
.5 teaspoon garlic powder
16 ounces mozzarella, shredded
4 ounces parmesan cheese (the stuff outta the green can, not the good stuff)

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain.

Return to the pot and melt in the butter.

Toss to coat.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Stir into the pasta and add the cheeses.

Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/14/05 11:53 PM

Not to intrude on this wonderful thread with magic, but you can do a number of rope tricks with pasta. You could try the Professor's Carbonara, and your script would just be to read the entire recipe, while you showed three pieces of pasta, different, same, different. You can get uncut pasta and cut it any length you like. I'll bet you could do Grandma's Necklace too. Several ring and string moves can be done with pasta.
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/15/05 04:20 AM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
Not to intrude on this wonderful thread with magic, but you can do a number of rope tricks with pasta. You could try the Professor's Carbonara, and your script would just be to read the entire recipe, while you showed three pieces of pasta, different, same, different. You can get uncut pasta and cut it any length you like. I'll bet you could do Grandma's Necklace too. Several ring and string moves can be done with pasta.
I would be more inclined toward a methamorphosis effect.. Actually, a "red neck carbonara vanish" might be even better. carlo
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 02/15/05 06:10 AM

Well, it will take some time to go through this material. Lots of interesting ideas. I like Carlo's openness. All recipes in the world have developed in order to please people's tastes. While I am very fond of cultural traditions, we can also contribute to these developments. Maybe we end up with something which is not Carbonara anymore, but that is good and different. We see it happen with magic all the time.
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Postby AMCabral » 02/15/05 03:03 PM

Originally posted by Rosie:
This is my recipe for keeping my old man fat and sassy...
You mean there's UPKEEP on that? He's not like that normally?

-Tony
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Postby Guest » 02/18/05 10:42 PM

Hell no..

you gotta pay extra for all that goodness!!
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Postby AMCabral » 02/19/05 09:15 AM

Originally posted by Rosie:
Hell no..

you gotta pay extra for all that goodness!!
Keep up the good work! ;)

-T
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