Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Betrayal, Heresy, Treason?
Though we're a pretty low-key bunch around our house, there are still lots of rules. Thou shalt not use soap to wash the cast iron pans. Thou shalt not pull "weeds" without consulting the gardener (me). Thou shalt not, under any circumstances, call anything a martini unless it's made with gin.
And that goes for food, too. As in thou shalt not try to substitute tea for coffee in the morning because "someone" forgot to get beans at the store. Or allow any "industrial" beers to cross the threshold (especially PBR). And get ready for a full scale call-the-pope-on-the-red-phone moment if you mess with the holiest of holies, spaghetti carbonara.
Now, I have to say that there are certain liberties that are allowed, such as substituting penne for the spaghetti in carbonara. (Even though David Anderson, chef at Genoa, told me once that anything except bucatini was definitely not OK. Fine.) But if I suggest the addition of even some parsley as more than a garnish, rest assured I'm prepared to duck because there will be an unpleasant substance hitting a fan in the vicinity.
But a fan of one-dish dining I am, so when I came back from the farmers' market the other day with some tender collard greens, it seemed like another mooning-of-the-rules might be in order. And oddly enough, whether it was the episode of "The West Wing" (via Netflix) that was particularly engaging or simply hunger-related obliviousness, not a word was said. Maybe I should try to sneak in some chai one of these mornings…
Pasta Carbonara with Greens
Adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Water for pasta
1 lb. dried penne or other pasta
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 c. grated parmesan, or a mixture of parmesan and romano
1/2 to 3/4 lb. bacon, sliced into 1/4” strips
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
Several leaves of kale, collards or other greens, sliced into 1/8" by 2" strips
1/4 c. dry white wine or dry vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the water on to boil. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks together, then add 1/2 c. of the cheese and beat in.
In a skillet, fry the bacon till it is cooked but still tender. Add the garlic to the bacon and saute briefly, then add the greens. When they have wilted slightly, add the wine and allow to come to a simmer, then take off the heat. While the bacon is frying, add pasta to the boiling water. When the pasta is done, pour it into a colander to drain and then place it in a serving bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the top and stir to combine. Add the bacon mixture and stir briefly just to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle some of the remaining cheese on top and put the rest in a small bowl on the table. Serve.