I know, I’ve been going on and on about the virtue and value of making one-pot meals on Sundays and having it for the rest of the week, so what was I doing making dinner on a Thursday night?
The truth is, I think we’ve done well if the dish lasted Sunday through Wednesday/Thursday–any day past that, the quality of the dish starts to go south (with the exception of beef bourignon which can stretch until Friday).
So I made Pasta Carbonara but with a French twist. Traditionally this dish is made with spaghetti, but I think the Fettucine pasta is better suited to sop up the cheesey sauce. The use of creme fraiche and chives helps frenchify the dish. The creme fraiche which is basically fermented heavy cream adds a nice tange to the creamy sauce, and using chives in place of parsley blends well with the garlic and adds a mild onion flavor to the dish.
This recipe is based on Eric Ripert’s Linguini Carbonara with some notable differences: 1. I used pancetta because I love the flavor of it especially in this context over smoked bacon; 2. I found that beating the eggs with some of the cheese in a separate bowl (instead of adding them directly) and mixing it with the pasta resulted in a better texture and helped avoid making scrambled eggs.
I highly recommend using fresh pasta. I love the fresh pasta, made daily, at Raffetto’s on West Houston.
Pasta Carbonara with a French Twist
1 lb. fresh Fettucine Pasta
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp. Creme Fraiche
1 C. grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 lb. Pancetta, medium diced
2 large Eggs, beaten in small bowl and mix with 1/2 of the grated cheese
1 small bunch Chives, sliced
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1. Start a large pot of boiling water, generously salted.
2. Boil pasta according to the package instructions. I boil pasta from Raffetto’s for 2 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan with oil, cook pancetta over medium-high until the fat is rendered and the pieces are brown. Add the garlic and cook until garlic has some color and its smell has filled your kitchen with the anticipation of a good meal (about 2 minutes). Remove pan from heat.
4. Using thongs, transfer the pasta into the pan with the pancetta. Whisk in the creme fraiche and egg mixture until thickened. Thin out the sauce with some of the pasta water to the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top it all off with the rest of the cheese and sprinkle on the chives.