I love the soothing properties of rich foods; sometimes you can come home on the verge of tears after a terrible day, look in the fridge to find an assortment of delicious odds and ends, throw it all together, and all of a sudden everything is coming up roses. Spaghetti Carbonara doesn’t usually have lemons in it but I just can’t leave well enough alone when it comes to bacon, whipping cream, and Parmigiano Reggiano. If you don’t want to infringe on a classic dish then leave it out, I personally find that it wakes the whole thing up. Likewise, the Italian parsley does the same in a very citrus-complimentary fashion and I insist on using liberal amounts just before serving. Instead of Parmigiano Reggiano you could substitute Asiago or a Grana Padano – what you’re looking for is a cheese with bite that won’t fade into the sublime creaminess of your cream and egg concoction. This pairs well with a green salad, completely pure in its element only using the freshest of greens and a simple oil and vinegar dressing with some freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt. Alternately, eat a bowl of Carbonara by itself with nothing other than a good book and a pair of pajamas.
Lemony Spaghetti Carbonara:
1/2 lb. of spaghetti
4 slices of bacon
2/3 cup of whipping cream
1/2 cup of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Juice and zest of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
A handful of loosely chopped Italian parsley
1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions in salted water. (Tip: add the salt after the water has come to a boil so that the water comes to temperature faster.)
2. Meanwhile, cut up the bacon with scissors into small piece, cook in a pan over medium high heat until most of the fat has been rendered. Remove and drain on a piece of folded paper towel. Set aside.
3. Combine the whipping cream, cheese, lemon juice and zest, pepper, and egg in a bowl.
4. Drain the pasta and quickly place it back in the pot. With the heat off quickly pour over the whipping cream sauce and the bacon and stir, the heat from the pasta will cook the egg and warm the sauce. You don’t want to end up with scrambled eggs in your pasta so do this very briefly.
5. Serve the pasta in warmed bowls and cover generously with the parsley.
On days where my life seems absolutely overwhelming and dark, when I seem to need food like this more than any other time, I always fall back to The Clientele. I love all of their albums and listen to them in a rather obsessive sort of way (my life can quite often seem absolutely overwhelming and dark), I would compare them to a metaphorical blanket that acts as protection from the outside world. Coupled with the seemingly non-stop January rain of Vancouver I instantly feel warmer when I hear this band.
The Clientele – Since K Got Over Me