Yes, you read that correctly. Tonight was Jim's turn to cook a fabulous meal. To my surprise, he chose a recipe that I've been shying away from because of one of the steps. Cooking Spaghetti Carbonara involves an egg, which is supposed to be added to a hot pan, without scrambling it. Yikes - that sounds quite difficult. The secret to not scrambling it, is to temper the egg with some hot water that you use to boil the pasta. I would say that this worked out well for our meal, but not perfectly. A little bit of the egg ended up scrambling, but the dish tasted wonderful overall. Great job, Jim!
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or rigatoni
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 large egg yolks
freshly grated Romano cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat (I use a wok). Add the olive oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta for two minutes; add red pepper flakes and garlic, and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add the wine and stir up all the pan drippings.
In a separate bowl, beat the yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.
Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with the meat and oil. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta, and toss rapidly to prevent the egg from cooking. Remove the pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper, and a little salt. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up the egg mixture and thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Garnish with the parsley and extra grated cheese.
Chef's Notes: "I combined the recipes from a few sites, but I roughly followed this one. I didn't use the wine, garlic, or parsley. I also cut the recipe in half."
The pasta did not come out saucy - it was more the consistency of what you get when you eat pasta with butter. This was probably because we didn't add the wine. It still ended up being quite a lovely meal, though.