And she ate the pasta that I made. All of it, bless her heart. I chose the whole wheat pasta because I thought Sausage Carbonara was a little too filling and the whole wheat would offset it.
Not the best idea I’ve had. Should not have chosen to experiment when company was coming. A pasta dish that depends on eggs should really be white pasta, if not an egg pasta. Would have been remarkably filling but it would have tasted much, much better.
It’s really easy and really quick and really, really good. First, go to the deli counter of your supermarket and ask for 100g of pancetta, cut thick like bologna. You’ll get about 4 slices if they do it right. Go to the cheese section. Get a goodly chunk of parmesan. Do not cheap out and get the pre grated stuff. Loses the flavour.
Go to the butcher counter and get 4 italian sausages. Pick the flavour that suits your mood.
Go to the dairy section. 500ml of 18% table cream, half dozen eggs. Go to the pasta section. 450g of linguine. White pasta. Egg, if they got it. Don’t chintz out and don’t buy the whole wheat, for Christ’s sake.
Go home, split the sausages, roll them up into meatballs about the size of a jawbreaker. Maybe a little smaller than that ; you want them all the same size and not too thick so that they will cook easily. Let’s say five meatballs to 1 sausage but not more than six and not less than 3, otherwise they get too big and take too long to cook and then you overcook and lose the flavour.
Chop up the pancetta into bits ; roll the slices up, slit them lengthwise and dice.
Grate up about a cups worth of parmesan.
Separate 4 egg yolks, mix them up. Add the 18% cream. Mix it all up. Add as much parmesan as you like, but not less than a third of a cup. My wife likes lots of cheese, so I use almost half a cup. Mix it all up. It will get kinda thick, which is good. Save the rest for the table or grate some more if you like. You want to do this sauce first so that it gets to room temperature. Cold eggs and cold milk make for scrambled eggs and pasta when you are done.
Little bit of olive oil in a pan and fry them up all nice and good. Get out your instant read meat thermometer. 150 degrees will do it for pork, making sure to get a reading in the centre. While those cook, bring a good sized pot of water to boil, enough for 450g of linguine (enough for 4 servings in my books). When the water boils, put in the linguine. I get fancy and my wife makes fun of me, but I bunch it in my hand and twist it, so that when I drop it in the pot it fans out all around the edges. I tell her it is so I am sure that it cooks evenly. Truth is, it makes it feel like I am on tv. Set the oven timer to 9 minutes. Good enough for al dente pasta.
Take the meatballs off when they are cooked and leave them on a plate or something and not papertowel. The bits of paper get on them and it fucks it all up. I haven’t done it myself, but I can saw myself making them mistake when I first did this and I thought I would share. Dump the pancetta bits into the pan and let them start to fry up like bacon. Give it a minute or three then toss in the meatballs so it all gets hot and greasy and yummy.
Pasta will nearly be done and the meaty bits is nearly done. As the timer goes off for the pasta, take a small glass and dip it into the pasta water and save that little bit. It helps later to free it all up.
Drain the pasta in the sink, return it to the pot and slosh it about to make sure that it does not stick together. If it starts to, swish a splash of the reserved water about in it and it will free up. Once that is done, slowly add your egg mixture to the whole thing and it will coat your pasta with a silky sheen. Then dump in the meatballs and the pancetta bits and slosh that around a bit.
Take it to your diners plates and away you go. But the whole wheat pasta. Stay away from the whole wheat pasta. Please.
Serve it all up with garlic bread and start with maybe a mixed greens salad with pecans, grated parmesan cheese, and chopped green onions with a balsamic dressing ( a good bitter starter for the rich meal to follow). I suggest a good Italian wine from the Abruzzi region – strong and spicy and very affordable if you look hard enough ; six or eight bucks for a good tasting bottle. Open it when you start to cook so that it has time to breathe.
For dessert, stick to the Italian and go for a tiramisu. I wanted to try and make my own but I ended up having to work the whole goddamned morning and afternoon and had to settle for storebought pastries ; which while very, very tasty I would have liked to try my hand at homemade tiramisu.
But I told you all of that so that I could tell my good friend who came for dinner that the story I told her about me starting (but not finishing ; surprise of surprises) was not something I just pulled out of my ass. Spent three hours data mining my own shit to find the damned thing.
I called it the Garden of Eden, mostly because at the time I had bought Charles Williams’s ‘A Figure of Beatrice’ and was re-reading the Divine Comedy for the umpteenth time in a feeble attempt to get a grasp of it.
So, here it is. Thanks for enduring dinner. I think between you, me and my wife that four or five bottles were killed. And I think I killed at least two on my own and had a shot or two of irish whiskey before I went to bed. I don’t think I slurred too much. I do hope you did enjoy the story you did read and were not just paying lip service.
At any rate, thanks again for coming for dinner and I can’t wait for you and your other to come up and spend the night. I’ll make dinner better next time. I promise.