Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

A dire situation

Posted: June 24th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 26 Comments »

CarbonaraI am a chronic snacker. I don’t mean that I come home, sit on the couch, and stuff my face. Oh lawsie no. I just mean that if there’s something cold, or left over, or both, and it’s in my fridge, I’ll end up gnawing on it when I get home from work.

Sometimes, this can be as harmless as a piece of toast. Sometimes, it’s a leftover meatball from the spaghetti and meatballs the previous night. Sometimes, a leftover eggplant round or a slice of quiche. Whatever happens to be around, I’ll probably eat.

Today, I arrived back home after work, and found a dire situation. There was, quite honestly, NOTHING that I could eat in its present form. I started to panic a little. If there was nothing edible at present, how on earth was I going to get something together for dinner.

Bacon….. cheese of a few varieties, a bit of a tomato…… some left-over avocado creme from the other day…. eggs…. Magically, like a good little Italian girl, I had all the necessary components in my refrigerator or pantry, for that master of broke folks’ food — CARBONARA!!

Let’s leave aside for the moment that I’m not Italian. The point is, I had onion, garlic, bacon, pasta, eggs, and chicken stock. Some people will always have the components for a grilled cheese sandwich in their fridge. Some, an omelet or a pbj or an ice cream sundae. Baiscally, we all have our items. For me, I guess my go-to dish is carbonara.

For those who haven’t seen one of my 800 other posts about it:
4 slices bacon
1/4-1/2 onion
4-6 garlic cloves depending on size (4 huge ones, 5 moderate ones, etc)
about 1/4 cup chicken stock
2 egg yolks
2/3 pound short-cut pasta (I used ridged whole wheat macaroni)
Grated parmesan, and black pepper.

Cut the bacon into dice, as best you can. Sautee the pieces, on medium-low heat. You want to render some of the fat out and get the bacon cooked through while giving yourself enough time to do the rest of the tasks.
Put a large pot of water on to boil, and salt it well. Put your pasta in when the water boils. You know how this part works.
Dice the onion while the bacon is cooking. Smaller pieces are better. Also, grate the garlic on a microplane. If you don’t have a microplane, go get one. In the meantime, you can smash and chop up your garlic, almost to a paste. Because we don’t want the garlic to burn.
Once the bacon gets crispy, add the diced onion and the garlic. Stir it all around, still on a medium-low heat, and add some chili flake. Sautee until the onion starts to get soft, at which point you should splash in your quarter-cup ish of chicken broth (you can totally use wine if you haven’t drunk it all), and let it reduce.
While the broth is reducing, separate your eggs. When the pasta is done, scoop out a ladleful of the pasta water (about 1/3-1/2 cup) and whisk it into the eggs, then drain the pasta.  Then, get ready, because the next part happens quick.

1. Dump the drained pasta into the pan with the bacon/onion/garlic/chili flake/broth. Stir.
2. Pour in the egg/pasta water mixture. Take pan off the heat. Stir.
3. Put in a big handful of grated parmesan and a good bit of black pepper. Stir. Vigorously.
You DO NOT WANT your eggs to scramble. You want the eggs to mix with the heat and the sauce and the pasta water and become a creamy kind of sauce.

If they do scramble, which they sometimes can, if the egg/pasta water mix cools down too quickly while you’re tossing your pasta, just add a little more broth and put the pan on the heat for a minute. It won’t fix it entirely, but it’ll make it better. Then, just cover it in cheese. Problem solved. NOM!!


26 Comments on “A dire situation”

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