Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 22: Spaghetti and Chicken Carbonara (sorta)

Well, that was an interesting experiment, if only partially successful.  For whatever reason I've been wanting to try making a carbonara for a while and tonight I decided to go for it.  For those of you unfamiliar with the dish, a carbonara is a pasta dish (almost always a spaghetti type pasta) with oil and an egg for a sauce.  Beyond that it usually has garlic and either rendered panchetta or bacon in the mixture, and of course, parmesan.  The idea is that the egg only very partially cooks and forms a thick creamy sauce without becoming scrambled eggs.

That's the idea anyway, unfortunately what I created was more like spaghetti with scrambled eggs than a proper carbonara.  To do it properly you are supposed to slowly render and crisp up some bacon and then soften some garlic in the olive and bacon oil.  While the bacon and garlic do their thing you have to cook your pasta and time it so that it finishes at the same time the bacon is ready.  You then drain the I pasta water and with the pasta still hot, put it in the oil\bacon bits and toss to coat it.  Finally, with the heat off you add an egg and parmsean mixture and stir vigorously to keep the egg from scrambling.

I did everything as directed, but I don't think I had the pan cool enough because as soon as I started tossing the pasta I started getting bits of scrambled egg instead of the thick creamy sauce that's supposed to occur.  It wasn't bad, and I got some of it, just not quite what was supposed to happen.  It was pretty tasty, and the chicken and green beans went pretty well with it (leftovers from the night before).  The next time I try this (and it is likely to be soon, just because I want to do it right) I'll try tempering the egg with a bit of warm stock first, then mixing together, along with having the pan off the heat for longer.  (worth noting, I've decided that this doesn't count as a proper carbonara, and if I add in some other things I totally get a do-over).

That brings day 22 to a close, day 23 coming shortly as I try to get back on track for posting the day I consume the meal.

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