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Guanciale


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I actually find cacio e pepe very difficult. About half the time the pecorino forms into lumps and doesn't coat the spaghetti properly. I know it all depends on the right amount of water -- I find that if I put in a bit of oil or butter it helps it along a bit, but this detracts from the purity of the dish.

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I actually find cacio e pepe very difficult.  About half the time the pecorino forms into lumps and doesn't coat the spaghetti properly.  I know it all depends on the right amount of water -- I find that if I put in a bit of oil or butter it helps it along a bit, but this detracts from the purity of the dish.

The pasta should not be overdrained - try putting it back in the pot still dripping with water. You can also try grating the pecorino very finely.

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Carlovski -- re: dishes containing liberal amount of black pepper. Joyce Goldstein's The Mediterranean Kitchen has a recipe for a beef stew that is basically meat, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper (maybe some red wine too? my memory fails me)... perhaps as many as 4 or 5T. Served with grilled bread. Sounds strange but it really works, was a fairly regular part of our winter dining for a few years.

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I've actually made carbonara with what I'd guess you could call guanciale affumicato (smoked hog jowls), which I found at Uwajimaya in Seattle. It was delicious. Also, smoked jowls are unbelievably cheap when you can find them. A half-pound goes a long way, and I think it was $3.50 a pound.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Re bastardized versions of carbonara, I see a lot of recipes in the US with peas or asparagus.

There's an article and recipe for Orechiette Carbonara by Suzanne Goin in today's New York Times Food Section

Yea... I saw that in the Times this morning. Maybe I'm a purist, but I have to admit that my first thought was, "I don't know what that is, but it's not Carbonara." In my world, a dish is a dish -- you can't go changing it to something else and continue to call it by the old name. Carbonara (leaving out for the time being that it is spaghetti alla carbonara) is pasta, pecorino/parmigiano (in order of preference), guanciale/pancetta/bacon (in order of preference), raw egg and cracked pepper. Period. Similarly, there is no such thing as a potato "lasagna" and that drink that contains not a drop of gin or vermouth is not a "martini."

On the other hand, my second thought was "hmmmm.... that sounds pretty tasty."

In a related tangent, although I have never been served spaghetti alla carbonara this way in Italy, I am rather fond of doing it the way Mario Batali does: separating the eggs, making the sauce with the whites and putting one raw yolk on top of each serving to be mixed in at the table. Anyone else try this?

--

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Yes and its great. Only problem was a few of my guests wouldn't eat the raw egg yolk so the sauce wasn't the same for them. If I mixed it in the pan, they never would have known.

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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Interesting what they say on the Esperya site about Guanciale:

Recently rediscovered by enthusiasts of good cuisine, the Guanciale is an indispensable, even mandatory, ingredient in the authentic recipe for Spaghetti all'Amatriciana, which is made with Guanciale (and not bacon or "pancetta"), with spaghetti (and decidedly not bucatini!), with grated pecorino (and not grana or parmesan) and, above all, without onions.

I can agree with the use of guanciale and pecorino -- although I think it is acceptable if not preferred to use pancetta and parmigiano -- but the adminitions against bucatini and onions struck me as very odd. I don't think I have ever eaten this dish in Italy when it hasn't included these two ingredients. In fact, I always thought it was Bucatini all'Amatriciana. Thoughts?

Link to recipe on Babbo website: clickare qui.

--

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Bucatini is certainly the traditional Roman pasta to use with this sauce. The hard core classic cooks in Rome do not use onion while others will only flavor the oil with onion and then discard the onion before adding the peperoncino. I am sure many just leave the onion in the dish. I am also sure it is often served on spaghetti - both in homes and restaurants.

edited to remove error as noted by slkinsey - thanks

Edited by Craig Camp (log)
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In view of the fact that so many Italian dishes have imprecise, even poetical origins, it seems to me that insistence in the form of words like "mandatory" can be contradicted by observation and experience.

Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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It might be worth pointing out that St. Mario provides a recipe/method for home-curing in The Babbo Cookbook. I don't remember it point-by-point, but my recollection was that it was something a home cook could handle.

Edit: Having racked my brain for a few minutes (I couldn't remember why I didn't jump right up and start curing immediately upon reading Mario's recipe), I realized that the one thing that might be harder to find than guanciale would be fresh pork jowl.

There's also a recipe for curing pancetta in the Chez Panisse Cafe cookbook. Armandino of Salumi fame (and St. Mario's papa) says he doesn't understand why every restaurant doesn't make their own pancetta, it's that easy. There is also a great description of how guanciale gets made in "Cooking the Roman Way", I think you could make it after reading that too. If you can not get a hold of a cheek, belly might be a lot easier (asian grocery store), and totally worth curing at home.

Also: in The Babbo Cookbook, Mario lists his father's shop in Seattle as a place to get all kinds of cured meats. There is no website listed, but there was a phone number and address. I don't keep a copy of the book in my office (:shame:), but maybe someone has one handy.

Salumi

309 3rd Ave S

Seattle, WA 98104-2620

Phone: (206) 621-8772

Can I gloat? I have a piggie cheek rubbed with its curing salts and spices sitting on a rack in the fridge right now, slowly transforming into guanciale. Other lucky folks have pieces of pig belly sitting in their fridge, on the way to becoming pancetta. How did we get so lucky? We all took a salumi class from Morgan, a chef at Ripe, here in Portland. We started with a side of pig and ended up with 40 sopresatta and finocchiona salumi, the afore mentioned pancetta, and hot coppa. He also taught us how to butcher the leg to make prosciutto, but we didn't use the leg for that because our pig was too small. Those of us who opted for the class with salumi get to go pick up ours when it's done aging. The partner, who is very fond of our porcine friends, asked if he could call every day to check up on his salumi and Morgan told him he could actually come by to inspect it. This was the most fun we've had in a while.

regards,

trillium

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Damn you Trillium, and the flower you rode in on! Now I must find a source for raw hog jowls in New York City so I can make my own guanciale! :biggrin:

Seriously, though... there has to be someplace in the City where I could buy some...

--

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Neener, neener, neener.....erm...sorry.

Seriously, I'm fairly certain you could get one at an Asian grocery store that sells pig. Many do the butchering themselves and get the hogs whole. It just depends on how confident you feel going in and doing a lot of gesturing to explain what you want. Do you have pork vendors at any of your farmer's markets? Bet they'd sell you a jowl or two.

regards,

trillium

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trillium,

I'm signed up for the 6/29 class at Ripe. Happy to hear that it was fun, but even more pleased for the pork products report.

There are a couple of spots left, or were yesterday...if you want to come to Portland to cure pork (and get a great lunch) go the ripe web site.

I'm still working the Niman Ranch guanciale. This weekend I crisped some up, tossed a handfull of sliced morels into the fat, added spring shallot from the garden, splash of Sardinian white, and finished with dollop of creme fraiche.

Porky and delicious.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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  • 4 years later...

Any further suggestions suggestions on how to put guanciale to use? Just treat it like extra special pancetta?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Any further suggestions suggestions on how to put guanciale to use?  Just treat it like extra special pancetta?

I would think you could use it in many dishes that call for sauteed bacon or pancetta as a seasoning ingredient. I used it in a spring pea and lettuce soup I made and it was delicious.

Jan

Seattle, WA

"But there's tacos, Randy. You know how I feel about tacos. It's the only food shaped like a smile....A beef smile."

--Earl (Jason Lee), from "My Name is Earl", Episode: South of the Border Part Uno, Season 2

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Any further suggestions suggestions on how to put guanciale to use?  Just treat it like extra special pancetta?

I would think you could use it in many dishes that call for sauteed bacon or pancetta as a seasoning ingredient. I used it in a spring pea and lettuce soup I made and it was delicious.

I'd be delighted if you'd supply an additional detail or two...

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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^It would be worth your while browsing through this thread and investing in David Downie's fine cookbook (see beginning of this thread). Recent contributions from new member Maureen B. Fant suggest another promising font of information.

As for the soup, it sounds somewhat related to a great asparagus soup in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Tree and Leaf had some great late season asparagus last year, though I fear it's too late. (It's up the farmer rather than the plant to decide when to stop cutting off spears and only Cinda was still bringing them to market last Sunday.) English peas really are a June thing, though, from what I understand.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I went to all of my usual historical sources, to try and find the source of the name carbonara, and came up empty. Which is odd, because usually they are pretty chatty about the origins of a dish.

Cucinara's recipe called for equal parts parmigiana and pecorino...very diplomatic of them, don't you think?

I use guanciale as the upscale pancetta. But, a good pancetta is nothing to sneeze at!

In NYC, you might be able to source it at DiPaolo's on Grand St.

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