Friday, March 29, 2013

Pasta Carbonara

If you've followed this blog for any time (and that would be zero of you reading this right now), you will recall that this is not the first time that I've done pasta carbonara here. The previous time was just after I made my first batch (of very many) of pancetta.

Last night was just strange. We had almost no business, sadly typical of a Thursday night during the NCAA basketball tournament, so I decided to bail early and spend the evening with Ann. She texted me to bring home something for dinner so I went into the walk-in to see what might pique my interest. I spied a slab of speck, the delicious lightly juniper-smoked cured pork belly from Alto Adige. Unlike any other cured meat in the world, I think of it as a first class lightly smoked ham, mostly because it is made from very lean bellies and is more meat than fat.

Cubed Speck

High Acid Syrah for the Carbonara
This Cochon Syrah (95% with 5% Viognier) comes from mostly cool climate sites in California (Russian River Valley, Mendocino, Dry Creek, though there's some Napa fruit in it too). It has a minty nose that I associate more with Australia than California and it finishes with great acidity, perfect for Pasta Carbonara.

Trofie, Duck Eggs, Speck, Pecorino Romano, Parsley
Although Pasta Carbonara generally features a long pasta, I didn't have any on hand for this impromptu dinner, while I did happen to have a bunch of fresh trofie, the signature pasta of Liguria.

How Beautiful are These Duck Egg Yolks?
The sauce is made by mixing the hot pasta with the rest of the ingredients right in the pasta bowl.

Food of the Gods!
Pasta Carbonara with Speck and Duck Eggs

500 grams pasta
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces speck, diced
3 duck egg yolks
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
handful of fresh parsley, minced
reserved pasta water

While the pasta is cooking, heat the butter in a skillet and cook the speck for a couple of minutes. Into your pasta bowl put the duck egg yolks, the cheese, and the parsley and mix well. Lightly drain the pasta just as it gets done and unceremoniously dump it on the egg yolk mix. Pour over the butter and speck. Toss it all together, adding more hot pasta water as necessary to make a fluid sauce. Season as necessary. Eat!

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