Sunday, August 24, 2008

Creative Cooking: Spaghetti Carbonara

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 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.


the Hussman duo said...

Thanks Angie! We appreciate all the prayers we can get! You live an adventerous life... love the cooking shows too. If teaching doesn't work out...maybe... =) Good luck with the next school year!

mackey family said...

I'm going to have to try the recipe. I love all of your creative substitutions...and I am much reassured that there is no wine in your household. :)

nick in elim said...

I found your white wine comment very amusing, thanks for the chuckle...your husband has hooked me on THE UNIT, so you have to make sure he brings it in OCT, and also his cd of gym games. see you guys in a couple months.

jake said...

Angie, I have to say that with a post title like "Spaghetti Carbonara" I was looking forward to the final picture being some sort of twisted-burned-black-carbon-mass. Although I'm disappointed, it obviously worked out better for Steve this way.

And ethanol's boiling point is 78.4 C, far below that of water. Cooking with alcohol generally leaves food with about as much alcohol as apple juice or basically all the food we eat that has trace amounts of ethanol. --pushes bridge of glasses up with forefinger, followed by a "ggnnnnn-hey!"--

Super Angie said...

I actually have no moral beef against cooking with wine. My caution had more to do with the fact that it's against the law to possess alcohol in our village. I wouldn't want my blog posts to incriminate me. :)