Sunday Pasta Dinner: Carbonara

Aside from design and papergoods, my other passion is cooking. More specifically — cooking pasta! I've taken it upon my self to learn how to make all of the dishes that Lupa and Pepi made when I was growing up. The latest dish that I've been perfecting is carbonara. As my husband says "fat equals flavor" and boy oh boy does this dish deliver!

I've been working with is Mario Batali's Spaghetti alla Carbonara recipe and there are a few things that I've learned thus far. First of all — since there are only a few ingredients, it's imperative that each is high quality. This is what will bring the dish to the next level. Also, timing is everything with carbonara so have all of the ingredients grated, chopped and ready to go! 

INGREDIENTS clockwise from top left
– Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano: Grab a chunk of Parmigiano, a grater and get grating! While it's not as easy as opening a package and dumping it in the bowl, it will be so worth it!

– Pancetta: Skip the pre-packaged, already chopped up pancetta and hit up the deli counter. Ask the butcher to cut it as thick as possible. 

– Pasta: I usually would use something twirlable (e.g. bucatini) but in this instance, I'm using this bag of spaccatelli from Sfoglini. My husband recently surprised me with their pasta of the month (he knows the way to my heart!). Their pasta is fresh, super tasty and two bags arrive every month — perfetto!

– Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Key here is "fresh" — whether you have a spice grinder or a pepper mill, make sure that pepper is freshly ground!

– Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: I know I've been touting "quality, quality" but here is one ingredient in this recipe that doesn't need to be the best. Since it's getting heated up in the pan, it can be average joe olive oil. If you end up using any as a finishing, make that the good stuff!

– Eggs: This ingredient is the finishing touch on carbonara so if you're game, spring for the organic crazy expensive eggs and enjoy how delectable they make this dish!

One thing that feels missing to me in this recipe is garlic! My family usually adds it to the pan by the handful! Thus far I have not missed it because this recipe is so damn flavorful. That being said, don't be surprised if a couple Sundays from now garlic finds its way into my carbonara! Buon appetito!

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Birthday Gnocchi

Birthday Gnocchi Rolling Pin Recipe Cook PastaThis year for my husband’s birthday I decided, as a special treat, to make him ricotta gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce. Here’s how you can make it:

1. In large bowl add 8 ounces of whole milk ricotta (any other type is watery), 1 beaten egg, and flour. I used both all purpose flour and semolina flour. You may need to add a little water to make the dough stay together. For a special taste I put fresh cracked black pepper and dried rosemary in the mix.

2. Stir ingredients together, knead into a ball of dough, let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Pull a hand full of the dough, roll it out into a long tube, cut with a knife into 1 inch pieces. Dredge each piece in flour, flip with your thumb or a fork into the form of a pouch. This shape helps to hold the sauce/gravy better.

4. The finished platter of gnocchi is covered with a gorgonzola sauce. The recipe for the sauce and where I found it is another story for yet another day!



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