Weekly Winner: Craving the Creature Comforts of Carbonara with a side of smoke

Yeah, I know.  It appears I’ve taken a leave of absence. It has been a busy beginning of the summer and now that I can sit back and take a breath, I’ll get you up to date on some of the tastiness that’s happened around here.

Awhile back my best friend came for a visit.  This is always cause for celebration and usually quite a bit of decadent eating and drinking.  While all of that happened, I also had a party to cater so most of the eating and drinking took place at restaurants and bars, with the exception of this dinner. Smoked Gouda Carbonara.  O. M. G.  This is amazing.  I mean downright luxurious and definitely decadent.  But how often down your BFF (who, by the way is Italian) come to visit?  Time to bust the diet, open a bottle of wine and enjoy.

The recipe comes from Food & Wine Magazine and like all good carbonaras has a minimal amount of ingredients.  The only tweak with this one is using smoked Gouda in place of the Parmesan.  The smoked Gouda emphasizes the smokiness of the bacon without becoming overwhelming.  It is just different enough to be sublime.  

Smoked Gouda Carbonara

Serves 6 [not in this house, but that’s what the recipe says]

Ingredients:

1 lb. spaghetti

5 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 cup (4 oz) finely shredded smoked Gouda, plus more for serving

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

6 oz slab bacon, finely diced

3/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Procedure:

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the whole egg, the 1 cup of Gouda, 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 tsp of black pepper.  Very gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of reserved cooking water to temper the eggs.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until rendered but not crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the pasta, crushed red pepper and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water.  Cook, tossing until the pasta is coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the pasta mixture into the large bowl and toss vigorously until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes; add more cooking water if needed.  Season with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta into bowls and serve, passing more Gouda at the table.
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