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La Belle Cuisine
Classic Italian Cooking
by Marcella Hazan, 1993, Alfred A. Knopf
La Belle Cuisine
cannot urge you strongly enough to do yourself a favor and purchase this
excellent cookbook! It is, 'filled with culinary wisdom and
clear recipes,' (Jeff Steingarten, Vogue), 'the one Italian
cookbook you would
take to a desert island,' (Sidney Moore, Washington
Post), and 'quite simply,
the most logical and helpful book on Italian
cooking.' (William Rice, Chicago Tribune)
We could not agree more!
Italian food historian claims that during the last days of World War II,
American soldiers in Rome who had made friends with local families would
bring them eggs and bacon and ask them to turn them into a pasta sauce.
The historian notwithstanding, how those classic American ingredients,
bacon and eggs, came to be transformed into carbonara has not really
been established, but there is no doubting the earthy flavor of the
is unmistakably Roman.
Most versions of carbonara use bacon smoked in the American style, but in
Rome one can sometimes have the sauce without any bacon at all, but with
salted pork jowl in its place. It is so much sweeter than bacon, whose
accents tend to weary the palate. Pork jowl is hard to get outside
Italy [it is
very easy to come by in the American South!] but in its place
one can use
pancetta, which supplies comparably rounded and mellow flavor.
make the sauce either way, with bacon or pancetta, and you could
methods to see which satisfies you
pound pancetta, cut as a single
1/2-inch-thick slice, OR
its equivalent in good slab bacon
4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 large eggs *
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 1/4 pounds pasta
It is difficult to imagine serving carbonara
anything but spaghetti.
1. Cut the pancetta or slab bacon into strips not quite 1/4 inch wide.
2. Lightly mash the garlic with a knife handle, enough to split it and
loosen the skin, which you will discard. Put the garlic and olive oil
a small sauté pan and turn on the heat to medium high. Sauté
garlic becomes colored a deep gold, and remove and
Put the strips of pancetta or bacon into the pan, and cook until
just begin to crisp at the edges. Add the wine, let it bubble
1 to 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.
4. Break the 2 eggs into the serving bowl in which you’ll be
quently tossing the pasta. Beat them lightly with a fork, then
the two grated cheeses, a liberal grinding of pepper, and
parsley. Mix thoroughly.
5. Add cooked drained spaghetti to the bowl, and toss rapidly,
the strands well.
6. Briefly reheat the pancetta or bacon over high heat, turn out
entire contents of the pan into the bowl, toss thoroughly
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