Food boredom has already set in out on the Alaska Frontier, so I had turn to my trusty friend. Amateur Gourmet. His spaghetti carbonara seemed reasonable and (more importantly) was compatible with the contents of my pantry, so I decided to give it a shot.
(Warning: for some reason today I completely forgot how to focus my camera. The pictures looked fine in the viewfinder, but they ended up blurry. Maybe I should have put my contacts in before shooting... My sincerest apologies, and please don't sue me for eyestrain. I probably can't afford it.)
Alaskan cooking is always in adventure in substitutions, and this recipe was no different. In fact, the only ingredients in this recipe I didn't substitute were spaghetti noodles and olive oil...
I was supposed to add pancetta to the olive oil. I don't usually keep pancetta around the house, so I had to settle for a handful of bacon bits (at least they were the real bacon bacon bits).
I looked at the bacon/olive oil mixture in the frying pan and decided I needed to add more oil. Due to the fact that the olive oil had the above pictured pour top (also due to the fact that I am a moron), I ended up putting way too much in the pan. I briefly considered trying to pour it back in the bottle, but I decided that if I'd used real pancetta the whole thing would be full of fat anyway. (If Steve dies of a heart attack this week, it's my fault. I sincerely apologize to his family and friends.)
Fresh garlic turned into garlic powder. I'm usually a throw-however-much-looks-good-into-the-pan kind of chef. But, I recently had a very bad experience with some garlic mashed potatoes, so I busted out the old measuring spoon for this addition.
I fried this all up, and it smelled great!
I was supposed to add white wine, but I was fresh out (if only the recipe had called for red wine*), so I used chicken broth and lemon juice. Stop laughing. The sages at switcheroo.com said it was okay.
I added the "white wine" to the wannabe pancetta mixture, and it boiled down to a nice sauce.
Meanwhile, I did have parmesan cheese in the refrigerator, although I'm not sure it's what Amateur Gourmet had in mind when he said "fresh grated parmesan."
I mixed the high quality parmesan with a couple of eggs. The resulting substance looked, but did not, I repeat: DID NOT, taste like corn muffin batter.
I stirred the noodles in the egg mixture like crazy. I was terrified that I wouldn't stir fast enough, causing disgusting egg chunks to develop. Luckily, the disgusting chunks were evaded. Pppphhhhhheeeeeewww!
After mixing in the faux pancetta, I had the finished product. Ta-da!!! I know, I know, it's a little anti-climatic. Please excuse the poor presentation. I lacked the fresh parsley to use as garnish, and I didn't think dried chives or oregano would have the same effect. Don't judge this recipe based on the poor picture above. Look at Amateur Gourmet's picture in order to be inspired to prepare this recipe.
Despite its homely appearance, the Spaghetti Carbonara was delicious. I was thrilled to be able to serve it to my well-deserving husband who said, "This was a lot better than the chili mac I was going to have for lunch."
Sigh. Oh well. At least he didn't put ketchup on it.
*That was a joke. The Alston household is one hundred percent free of both red and white wines. Thank you.