Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Love Potions" or "Pork Is A Nice Sweet Meat"

yes, I accidentally squashed those poor sad roses

Bacon I think is the food of love. Not only is the mere the sight of it enough to bring a dreamy look into they eyes of carnivores everywhere, but when paired with beer, has been known to even bring tears to the eyes of grown men. And its' delicious hot pink stripes totally fits in with the whole Vday color scheme. And if that doesn't convince you, it was at least the perfect salt lick pairing for the box of chocolates I was gifted and will not confess to eating all in one day.( Hey what happens on V day...) Personally I think bacon should be the official food of Valentine's day. What could BE more romantic? What? Chocolate? Champagne and Strawberries? Pshaww!

Nigella Lawson describes Spaghetti alla Carbonara  to be the type of food to take up to bed with you when you plan to amorously knock boots, eat noodles, then knock boots again. Which if you've ever seen Nigella Lawson definitely seems like something she'd be up to. And while I can certainly vouch for the tastiness of this dish (it is divine), what I can't quite get with is the idea that laying around a giant pan of raw egg and bacon at room temp is really that great of an idea. Hey, call me old fashioned, but twin food poisoning in a one bathroom apartment doesn't sound that romantic to me.

We however did not die when we ate this (although we didn't having laying around either) and I think egg phobia aside this truly is a perfect dish for a romantic occasion (given you're bacon eaters). It's wonderfully creamy deliciousness isn't hindered by the four deadly sins of date foods ( garlic, onions, heaviness and cruciferous veg) and it's pretty quick and easy to whip up.

Romantically bacony, deliciously light, (and my second wine dish!) our Valentine's day meal. 

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Feast - Nigella Lawson

1lb package of spaghetti
2 cups cubed pancetta or bacon
2tsp olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
4 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
freshly grated nutmeg

Yield 4 servings

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil the pasta. Cut the bacon/pancetta down into 1/2 x 1/4 inch cubes. If the pancetta has the rind on cut it off- and use a bigger piece of pancetta, as the amount specified is for the prepared cubes- and put the rind in the pan with a light film of oil and cook it gently to render down.

Start your pasta cooking according to the package instructions , reserving approximately 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile in a large pan that will fit the cooked pasta later, cook the bacon cubes in the oil until crispy but not crunchy. Add the wine to the pan to deglaze all those lovely meaty bits, and cook for a few minutes more until the liquid reduces to a small amount of salty winey syrup. Then take the pan off the heat.

For the sauce;
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, Parmesan, cream, and some black pepper to taste. Put your pan, (the one with the bacon) back on the heat and add the drained pasta, tossing well to coat. Add a little of the reserved pasta water to the noodles if necessary. Take the pan off the heat again and add the eggs and cheese mixture, tossing everything to coat and mix. Serve topped with some more freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg, (the nutmeg really makes all the difference)

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