Thursday, March 3, 2011

Allyn's Crazy Good Carbonara - serves 4 to 6

My daughter, Allyn, has a nickname around our house.  "Noodle".  Ever since she could eat people food she's always had a thing for anything pasta.  If she could live in Italy, she would, knowing that anywhere and everywhere she would go she could always get noodles.  We have to have them at least once a week or she'll go through such withdrawals it makes her moody.  Very moody.  Now we have a new tradition in the kitchen where Wednesdays, the only days of the week that we have no sports, are her days to help in the kitchen.  And, as you can guess, she not only helps, she chooses what we will be having.  Noodles.  I was inspired by this recipe from one of my favorite magazines, La Cucina Italiana, and by a recent post from a chef in Italy I had the opportunity to meet.  Allyn, on the other hand, wanted it just for the picture.  There was no need in telling her  what was in it, she just wanted it.  Therefore, we collectively cooked this dish, having fun the whole time.  As we prepared to plate, she was adamant about not letting anyone see her concoction, all but one.  Once sitting at the table as a family and blessing the meal, we dug in, immediately singing her praises.  I could have eaten the WHOLE pot worth, it was so heavenly.  With high-fives to my little sous chef, I could only imagine what my "noodle" would think of next.

Ingredients - see note following recipe

Fine sea salt
6 large organic eggs
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tbs cold water
1 pound linguine
2 1/2 cups whole organic milk
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese, about 4 1/2 oz
1 (4 oz) 1/4 inch thick piece bresaola, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (1 cup)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, lightly beat eggs.  In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 1/2 tbs cold water.
Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente.  Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring milk to a boil, then whisk in cornstarch mixture. (Watch out for milk because once it boils and you're not watching, it will spilleth over!)  Whisking constantly, cook milk mixture until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes; remove from heat.
Whisking, pour about 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into the bowl with eggs (this is called tempering and you need to do it in a slow pour so that eggs won't scramble).  Continue whisking and add egg mixture to remaining milk mixture.  Whisk in cheese and 1 tsp of salt.
Drain pasta, then return to pot.  Add egg mixture and half the bresaola to hot pasta; toss to combine.  Let stand 2 to 3 minutes (pasta will absorb some of the sauce), then toss again.  Adjust seasoning, if needbe, then divide among serving bowls.  Spoon extra sauce and sprinkle remaining bresaola over the top.  Serve immediately.

Note:  Bresaola is available at Jimmy's Food Market in Dallas (for my outside of Dallas/Texas readers, check with your high end grocery for availability or Italian market) is air-dried salted beef that has been aged two or three months until it becomes hard and turns a dark red, almost purple colour. It is made from top (inside) round, and is lean and tender with a sweet, musty smell. It originated in Valtellina, a valley in the Alps of northern Italy's Lombardy region.
The word comes from the diminutive of Lombard bresada, "braised".

No comments:

Post a Comment