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Basilgirl

Spaghetti Carbonara

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Should be fine, you did add the egg in the pan. So it should have been hot enough to cook through as long as you didn't let it sit out for more than an hour or two before refrigerating. If you did the Mario Batali recipe where you mix in the egg yolk later Id say chuck it.

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From a food safety pov, it should be fine, but from a textural pov, it loses its creaminess and becomes clumpy ans greasy when reheated. I use more cheese than most recipes call for, but even excellent restaurant-made carbonara does not reheat well.

Still tastes good, though.

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I just want to say that, in response to the "you should always; you should never" theories of Carbonara making that, as chief cook and bottle washer for a large family for several decades, Pasta Carbonara was one of my "go to" last-minute dishes. I made it at least three or four times a month for years. And served it often as a side dish at Italian-themed dinner parties.

It's a very forgiving dish, and you can produce something tasty and pleasing by adding whatever you wish to add, or leaving out whatever you wish to leave out, as long as you keep the basic premise the same. I often incorporated leftovers, or chicken, or vegetables, or whatever else my family happened to be in the mood for that day, or whatever I needed to use up.

Like most cooking, the important thing is that you are turning out something that suits your taste and meets your needs; rather than being fearful and intimidated that you might not be strictly adhering to somebody else's notion of "authenticity."

Unless you're interested in some sort of food history research/investigation, I personally find that approach counterproductive and stifling.

________________________


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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I generally agree that fixation on authenticity can be stifling, not to mention pedantic, especially when you can find variations on carbonara in Italy itself that have onions or zucchini for a sweet counterpoint, or that substitute shellfish for the guanciale (I once had an amazing carbonara di mare in Livorno).

That said, I think the question of what's an authentic carbonara is interesting. From what I've been able to tell, a carbonara dish is part of a family tree of traditional Roman pasta dressings that almost reminds one of French sauce derivations. (You add one or two ingredients to a more basic sauce, and you get a completely different sauce.) The "mother sauce" here seems to be cacio e pepe--grated pecorino romano and black pepper, with maybe a little olive oil. Add some guanciale to this base, and it becomes pasta alla gricia. Add eggs to the gricia, and it becomes carbonara. Take away the eggs and add tomatoes and hot pepper, and you've got an amatriciana. Go back to a carbonara but use egg fettuccine, substitute parmigiano for the pecorino and prosciutto for the guanciale, and you've got fettuccine alla papalina.

Also, there's a lot to be said about simplicity and emphasizing the quality of a very limited number of ingredients. The very first pasta dish I ever had in Italy, years ago, was a painfully simple spaghetti alla carbonara at a little hole in the wall near the Campo de'Fiori in Rome. It blew me away--perfectly cooked spaghetti, just enough pepper, and a sauce creamy with eggs and melted pork fat. I had never eaten a pasta dish like that before, and that's the effect I like to reproduce when I make a spaghetti alla carbonara for guests now. Pile too many ingredients on top of this, however, and the ship capsizes.

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I generally agree that fixation on authenticity can be stifling, not to mention pedantic, especially when you can find variations on carbonara in Italy itself that have onions or zucchini for a sweet counterpoint, or that substitute shellfish for the guanciale (I once had an amazing carbonara di mare in Livorno).

That said, I think the question of what's an authentic carbonara is interesting. From what I've been able to tell, a carbonara dish is part of a family tree of traditional Roman pasta dressings that almost reminds one of French sauce derivations. (You add one or two ingredients to a more basic sauce, and you get a completely different sauce.) The "mother sauce" here seems to be cacio e pepe--grated pecorino romano and black pepper, with maybe a little olive oil. Add some guanciale to this base, and it becomes pasta alla gricia. Add eggs to the gricia, and it becomes carbonara. Take away the eggs and add tomatoes and hot pepper, and you've got an amatriciana. Go back to a carbonara but use egg fettuccine, substitute parmigiano for the pecorino and prosciutto for the guanciale, and you've got fettuccine alla papalina.

Also, there's a lot to be said about simplicity and emphasizing the quality of a very limited number of ingredients. The very first pasta dish I ever had in Italy, years ago, was a painfully simple spaghetti alla carbonara at a little hole in the wall near the Campo de'Fiori in Rome. It blew me away--perfectly cooked spaghetti, just enough pepper, and a sauce creamy with eggs and melted pork fat. I had never eaten a pasta dish like that before, and that's the effect I like to reproduce when I make a spaghetti alla carbonara for guests now. Pile too many ingredients on top of this, however, and the ship capsizes.

I agree completely. I do find food history fascinating. But I think knowledge should be inspiring and freeing, encouraging creativity and exploration. Not limiting and restrictive and punitive, as it so often is used by those that possess it.

And, speaking of simplicity, a little hot pasta tossed with nothing but good rich butter and salt and pepper can be just perfect when you get home tired and hungry on a cold winter's night.

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I have a question about the egg making the sauce for the carbonara. Exactly how "eggy", if at all, is it supposed to taste? My problem is I don't like the taste of eggs on their own. I'll eat a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich if I'm starving, but I'd rather do without the egg. I want to try making this the real way at least once so I'm going to do that tonight, but should the egg be a prominent flavor component in this dish? I've never had or made this dish, so I don't know exactly what I'm looking for. If I wind up not liking my results, I'm not above omitting the egg, subbing in some cream and then calling it almost-carbonara-but-not-really for the authenticity police.

If, as you should, you use high-quality fresh eggs, they will have taste, which should be the taste of egg. Fortunately the authenticity police can offer you a solution to keep you from the slippery slope of making excuses for adding cream and making snide remarks about the authenticity police, who have feelings too.

What you should be making instead of carbonara is spaghetti alla gricia, also known as amatriciana bianca. It contains guanciale, pecorino, and pasta, period.

I spent the day in Amatrice today for the sagra degli spaghetti all'amatriciana (pleasant, but not thrilling). We discovered a wonderful pork shop and bought some special preservative-free guanciale made from a special black pig, but that is another story. At the pork shop, I picked up a flyer giving recipes for gricia, amatriciana, and carbonara. At the bottom of the page it appends three lists, which presumably apply to all three recipes. I translate:

Obligatory ingredients: guanciale, pecorino, pelati/sanmarsani [sic] (canned peeled or San Marzano tomatoes), spaghetti or bucatini

Permissible ingredients: short pasta, red pepper, black pepper, dry wine

Forbidden ingredients: pancetta, onion/garlic, celery/carrot, sweet, tart, or Pachino (cherry) tomatoes

A footnote explains that the wine and pepper are modern additions. The wine cuts the grease, and the pepper is used because the curing process of the guanciale nowadays doesn’t always observe traditional practice.

Anybody want to take on those authenticity police?

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Anybody want to take on those authenticity police?

Ahhhh...and therein lies the truth.

As I think I've made pretty clear, my personal opinion is to each his own.

Those that are happy adhering to hard and fast rules as to what is "right" should definitely do it their way.

And those that are fearful and intimidated as to what is "wrong" should relax, and do it their way.

It's just food after all.

But hey, like I said...

That's just my opinion.

:smile:

____________________________


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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We do the mix the yolk in at the end method. Before mixing:

IMG_6655.JPG

and after:

IMG_6652.JPG

I love the stickiness of the egg coating the spaghetti. Oh, and the pork fat is pretty good, too...

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Anybody want to take on those authenticity police?

Ahhhh...and therein lies the truth.

As I think I've made pretty clear, my personal opinion is to each his own.

Those that are happy adhering to hard and fast rules as to what is "right" should definitely do it their way.

And those that are fearful and intimidated as to what is "wrong" should relax, and do it their way.

It's just food after all.

But hey, like I said...

That's just my opinion.

:smile:

____________________________

I think I used to think like that, long ago. But I have lived in Italy for more than 30 years. I used to resist, but gradually came around to being convinced that in the matter of traditional Italian foods, it was foolish not to give the Italians the benefit of the doubt. And I've often said that the chaos that invades so many aspects of life is not found in the food. If you order carbonara in a Roman trattoria, the sort of place to which it is native, you have a right to expect to receive a dish containing only egg, guanciale, cheese, and pepper, and maybe a little olive oil, though that isn't quite "philological". Otherwise you have chaos. To give you an oft-cited example, the restaurant Al Moro in Rome serves "spaghetti al Moro," which is carbonara in which the black pepper is replaced by red. That's the only difference, but they changed the name. If you add leftover chicken to your carbonara, it becomes something else, not carbonara.

But honestly, it seems to be carbonara, of all humble dishes, that people get most worked up about. I first encountered carbonara in Rome in 1968, and when I returned to New York and made it for my friends, they had never seen anything like it. In the long "special relationship" between Americans and Italian food, carbonara is a relative newcomer. But it IS a particular dish that belongs to a particular tradition, and that, for me, means it deserves respect.

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I love carbonara, I make it all the time, it's so comforting. I use: 1 lb of pasta, 1 cup of crumbled bacon, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 2 eggs, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

For variety I sometimes add in peas or slices asparagus. I throw them in with the pasta when the pasta is about 1/2 way done. I also sometimes like to use small shells instead of spaghetti, especially if I am adding peas. The peas get caught in the shells, which is just :wub:


Edited by tonyrocks922 (log)

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...the authenticity police, who have feelings too.

Yes, but the difference is that I'm not stomping around telling the authenticity police that they should do it my way and that, if they do not, it can only be because they have questionable taste and are either stupid or ignorant or, most likely, both.

If, instead, I say, "Thank you very much but I am aware of your way and I prefer to do it my way, even if you do think it's 'wrong' and insist upon repeatedly pointing that out to me," I see no reason why the authenticity police, "who have feelings too," should find them hurt.

____________________


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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I should add as a qualification to my comments on cream in carbonara, that that's how it's done in Tokyo, as standard, in the everyday Italian restaurants. I came here in the early 90's, when there were a handful of inexpensive Italian restaurants in the whole city, and tomato-sauce pasta, known as 'Napolitan', generally involved ketchup.

Later there was an explosion of cheap Italian pasta/pizza joints, such that now you can barely turn round in the city without treading on a block of parmigiano. And it's good - fresh, well-chosen ingredients; the same lightness of touch, balance and elegance that distinguish Japanese food. They say that the Italian you can get in Tokyo is some of the best in the world.

And yet the standard Carbonara here has a lot of cream in it. Why ? I don't know, I'd have to ask some chefs. Because they're all cack-handed ? I don't think so. Some cooking-culture mutation that's spread - a misunderstanding 15 years ago that's perpetuated itself ? Risk-avoidance that stops restaurants serving uncooked egg ? If you add together the Tokyo & Yokohama area, there are 25 million people - that's quite a cultural meme to kick against.

As for authenticity police, I can't say I've noticed anyone in this thread behaving that way. I'm always interested in different aspects of food culture in different places and different times, and I'm delighted to read / hear from someone like Maureen, who can talk authentically about the reality of Italian food in Italy, and who knows how to couch her contribution in terms that show she knows what she's talking about.

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And yet the standard Carbonara here has a lot of cream in it. Why ? I don't know, I'd have to ask some chefs. Because they're all cack-handed ? I don't think so. Some cooking-culture mutation that's spread - a misunderstanding 15 years ago that's perpetuated itself ? Risk-avoidance that stops restaurants serving uncooked egg ? If you add together the Tokyo & Yokohama area, there are 25 million people - that's quite a cultural meme to kick against.

This happens a lot in many countries where the bastardized version becomes so popular that the originally authentic version now becomes inauthentic. I suspect that if a Japanese-Italian restaurant served a carbonara without cream, the diners would complain about how it was not what they were expecting. Similar to how you couldn't get away with not serving a fortune cookie at the end of an American-Chinese meal despite there being no fortune cookies in Chinese cooking.

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Sorry, Tim, but no Italian will countenance the idea of leftover pasta. It goes to the dog, period.

Nonsense. Leftover pasta goes into a frittata or gets ripassata in padella. Or you just eat it straight. What Italians find hard to countenance -- meaning what purists of a certain age find hard -- is cold pasta, or pasta salad, but modern life is winning on that front.

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Sorry, Tim, but no Italian will countenance the idea of leftover pasta. It goes to the dog, period.

Nonsense. Leftover pasta goes into a frittata or gets ripassata in padella. Or you just eat it straight. What Italians find hard to countenance -- meaning what purists of a certain age find hard -- is cold pasta, or pasta salad, but modern life is winning on that front.

Very true, Maureen. The shared taste for the lovely crunchiness of pasta reheated on a strong flame is one of the few remaining elements of national identity :smile:

However, I don't know what you mean by 'modern', but I'm 48 and I have childhood memories of cold pasta salads in the Summer -fresh tomatoes, olives, herbs, olio EVO, even cheese...- and I don't think it was only me or my local friends - I'm from Genoa and my partner is from Rome, but pasta salad was always in the standard shared repertoire. Saying: 'let's make a pasta salad' never sounded more modern than saying 'let's make spaghetti aglio e olio'.

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Here in Rome, people make pasta alla caprese, and Volpetti, my habitual gourmet shop, always has a couple of cold pastas for sale -- grilled veg and ricotta infornata is one I've copied at home -- but these are not mainstream. Marcella Hazan -- per quanto sia brava, not, I realize, the voice of how things are done in Italy -- holds her nose and gives a recipe or two for cold pasta. My friend Oretta Zanini De Vita, author of Encyclopedia of Pasta (which I translated), refuses to put a cold pasta in the new book we are now planning. Genoa is awfully far away, and we know things aren't the same all over Italy, but here in the center, pasta salads are conservative and rare. And I think that nowhere in Italy would you find the sort of pasta salads you find in the US. For my terrace dinners I've settled on room-temp pasta e fagioli, though for big terrace parties I'll do something with vegs and a room-temp fusilli al pesto, which I hesitate to admit to a genovese, but it goes over pretty well in Roma.

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After reading this whole thread - I just had to make it today for company (I always experiment with new dishes with guests - I hate making 'old' stuff for some reason).

2 Lb Spaghetti

12 oz thick bacon (can't get the good pork products in my little town easily)

5 eggs lightly fork-whipped (sounds like a punishment!)

Rendered the bacon down while boiling the pasta, put 5 whole cloves of garlic in while rendering the bacon - then discarded. Not sure if that helped or if it was all in the head. ;)

Drained the pasta and tossed with the egg, bacon and fat, about 1/2 cup Parmesan and lots of coarse fresh ground pepper.

Was probably one of the finest pastas I've eaten, very powerful in how simple it is. I can understand the temptation to complicate it, but what a beautiful dish it is!

Of course, this was two families, so the 'main' was stuffed chops (also an experiment). I had the butcher cut me 8 center cut chops 1.5" thick.

I then made a stuffing out of sauteed portobella and garlic and grated romano, with butter for liquid and paprika for color, blended smooth. Made a discreet pocket and stuffed them full. Baked at 170 for one hour, 200 for 20 minutes, then finished in a red hot cast iron skillet till golden. I used Cavenders Greek seasoning to dust the chops. They also turned out amazing.

We all ate much more than we should have, and it was a real tragedy I didn't get pictures... oh well.

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How to make Spaghetti Carbonara the "authentic" "right" or "only" way has been cause of many Italian barroom brawls, Italian family falling-outs (usually due to some sort of in-law who obviously does not have a clue), and the main reason why your Italian boyfriend hates your Italian best friend (she puts SAUSAGE in her carbonara amore , for crying out loud, its not a possible!!! it's a crime)

... or at least this has been my experience.

So I DO NOT make carbonara when my anal boyfriend, mother-in-law, and best friend are seated at my table.

I certainly would never order carbonara at a restaurant -- the chances of it being terrible are just too high.

I would never make carbonara for more then 5 people.

meat - pancetta, bacon, prosciutto crudo, or sausage all work fine

egg- 1 egg per person (or 1 egg yolk per person but 1 whole egg for every third person)

parmigiano (1 egg yolk size per person)

cream-- well no, but sometimes just a little tiny bit if I am feeling insecure

I think the most important thing is that you don't scramble the eggs -- you HAVE to get the right temperature -- too cold and it is nasty - too hot and it is scrambled (yuck) --- just right is creamy.

As for leftover carbonara I would definitely give it to my neighbors cats (not for being worried about dying from the eggs but from the simple fact that carbonara does not reheat well (scrambled egg effect)--- other pastas maybe -- carbonara - no (unless of course I was really really really tight on money ... but in that case I would make polenta)

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On 8/13/2003 at 8:31 AM, Toliver said:

I say go with what tastes good to you.

 

@huiray -- this is the rule I go by these days.  I have preferences like anyone else, but I don't mandate that others follow them.  Make sense?

 

Now if the question is 'what do you think of carbonara with cream' ... well, I'm sure you can figure out what my response would be.  Old habits die hard.  But really, it's all good whichever way one decides to go.

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4 hours ago, ProfessionalHobbit said:

 

@huiray -- this is the rule I go by these days.  I have preferences like anyone else, but I don't mandate that others follow them.  Make sense?

 

Now if the question is 'what do you think of carbonara with cream' ... well, I'm sure you can figure out what my response would be.  Old habits die hard.  But really, it's all good whichever way one decides to go.

 

But of course. Thanks for the reply.

 

As for "whatever takes your fancy" – true enough of course, too. Nevertheless, I tend to go along with what Maureen B. Fant talked about above - in this post.

 

I've posted about Pasta carbonara in various places here on eG. I myself like to stick with guanciale, but have used other meats including pancetta and (in a recent example) Pancetta tesa which was irresistible when I saw it (see here).

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Just now, huiray said:

 

But of course. Thanks for the reply.

 

As for "whatever takes your fancy" – true enough of course, too. Nevertheless, I tend to go along with what Maureen B. Fant talked about above - in this post.

 

I've posted about Pasta carbonara in various places here on eG. I myself like to stick with guanciale, but have used other meats including pancetta and (in a recent example) Pancetta tesa which was irresistible when I saw it (see here).

 

I have definite opinions about what constitutes carbonara.  The dish I made last night fits that to a T.  But if someone wants to include cream and garlic or cream and bacon or cream and chicken, I'll bite my tongue and look the other way.  Been there, done that.  "De gustibus" is the rule of the day.

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5 minutes ago, ProfessionalHobbit said:

 

I have definite opinions about what constitutes carbonara.  The dish I made last night fits that to a T.  But if someone wants to include cream and garlic or cream and bacon or cream and chicken, I'll bite my tongue and look the other way.  Been there, done that.  "De gustibus" is the rule of the day.

 

So do I.

 

But by the same token, when I have made deviations I myself say something like "based on" or comment on the deviation I have made - speaking personally, of course.  Or call the dish by another name - like what itch22 mentioned in his/her post that Zafferano did.  But hey, as you say, people are free to do whatever they like!

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If I don't have the ingredients for it on hand, I either don't make it or don't call it "carbonara".  Most of the time, I go without.

 

I have a rather rigid view of what the dish entails.  Works for me.

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