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making my way through the kitchen, one dish at a time
Mar 22, 2015 9:02PM

Reminiscing Rome: Pasta Carbonara


Reminiscing Rome

Rome was amazing.  Absolutely amazing.  And one of the most memorable things I took back with me, was a craving for Pasta Carbonara.  True pasta carbonara.  I perused the internet, checked my go to recipe site (allrecipes.com), and still didn't seem to find a recipe that captured a simple Italian dish of pasta, pancetta, and creamy egg/cheese sauce.  So after checking up on a few recipes, I combined 2 recipes from allrecipes.com and 1 found on The Food Network site, and got this....a simple, easy version of creamy Pasta Carbonara.

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces (3/4) box of Spaghetti (or whichever pasta you would like)
  • 5 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan Reggiano (freshly grated)
  • ground pepper
  • Pancetta
  • Olive oil

Boil the pasta until cooked.  Add salt for flavor. 

Halfway until it's done, start the pancetta by using 2 tablespoons of olive in a pan.  Cook the pancetta until one side is nice and crispy, stir.  

It's best if your pancetta is cut into 1/4 inch thick strips.  If you bought the pre-diced pangetta, stir in the pan after one side is nice and crispy.  Take the pan off the heat to complete the other side.

While the other side of the pancetta is cooking, the pasta should be ready.  Drain the water and place pasta in a bowl.

With the cooked pancetta, pour contents (pancetta and oil) onto the pasta and mix thoroughly.  Let sit while you prepare the sauce.

Beat the eggs completely.  Then add the cheese 1/4 cup at a time.  Add ground pepper to taste.  I use both the pre-ground pepper as well as freshly ground pepper.

The noodles should be nice and warm (make sure they are not completly hot or too cool), pour the egg-cheese sauce mixture onto the noodles and mix.  If the noodles are too hot, it will cook the egg (and you'll have scrambled egg sauce).  If the noodles are too cool, the cheese in the mixture will not melt.

Serve warm.

I've read online that bacon can be a good substitute.  This may possibly work, but for me, as I reminisce our time in Rome, I wanted to keep this recipe as simple and as Italian as possible.  Enjoy.

0 Comments ~ Posted By missiza
Filed in: easy meals, pasta, italian ~ Tagged with: pancetta, spaghetti, italian, pasta
Nov 17, 2012 10:35AM

Green Bean Casserole (with sausage) - Holiday Yummies

So I normally only make this dish for either (or both) Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  Sometimes though, I think I should make it more often, it's rather easy.

Standard Ingredients:

2 Green beans
1 smoked sausage
1 medium size onion
3 cloves garlic
2 cans cream of mushroom
French's fried onion
1 8oz bag mild chedder cheese
salt
pepper

Generally, the green bean to cream of mushroom ratio is 1 to 1, in case you need to make a larger portion.  The amount of cheese you use is up to you, but I use about 1 cup per cheese layer.  You can also use any type of sausage, but I prefer Pork Kelbasa (for this size serving, I use half of the sausage).

How to make it:

Saute onions in oil with a sprinkle of sale.  Add garlic.  Cook garlic and onions.  Then add sausage.  (I cut mine up in quarters.)
Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Drain green beans and then add to sausage mixture.  Mix in the cream of mushroom.
Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set to low heat for ~10 minutes.

In 9x13 pan, layer the bottom with French's fried onion.  Take half of the green bean mixture and use that as the 2nd layer.
The next layer is the cheese.  Then repeat with remaining green bean mixture.

Cook in the oven under 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, lower the heat 350 minutes.
And a layer of cheese and top it off with French's Fried Onions.

Baker for ~10 minutes or until cheese is melted and French's Fried Onions are golden brown.

Cool and serve.

0 Comments ~ Posted By missiza
Jan 3, 2011 10:31PM

Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs for Plenty (remix)

Note:  This is an update to my first posted recipe.  Sometimes when you make things even better, you just have to remember it ;-)

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I have often tried to come up with/find recipes that can serve 1-2 people, but this recipe is made for either family gatherings, potlucks, or if you're just itching to have some meatballs for quite a while.

This recipe is derived from 2 great recipes on allrecipes.com - Italian Spaghetti Sauce & Meabtalls (I took the sauce part) and The Best Meatballs.  For my recipe below, it's VERY IMPORTANT to use freshly ground meat and freshly grated cheese.  I recommend getting the meat from a butcher shop and the cheese from an Italian deli.  It makes a big difference.

The cooking time is approximately 3-hours - from prep to cook time.  And yes, that is a pretty long time to be in the kitchen, but this is also a great recipe to involve loved ones, since 4+ hands definitely make it better than 2.

Ingredients:
Sauce:
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, rough chop (I prefer a mixture of finely chopped and big chunks :-))
olive oil
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes (I use San Marzano)
1 24oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I uze San Marzano Marinara sauce)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 bay leaves
1 12oz can tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Meatballs:
1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground veal
1/4 pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 egg
1 freshly cup grated Romano cheese (I get the one that is sold at the grocery deli)
2 1/4 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
salt and black pepper to taste
3/4 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
lukewarm water
olive oil

Directions:

SAUCE

  1. In a large pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent.  The pot should be large enough for the sauce and meatballs to simmer later.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, sugar, and bay leaves.  Stir in the peeled tomatoes.
  3. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer with cover on for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, remove cover and use a potato masher to mash the peeled tomatoes.  Continue this until you achieve your desired tomato chunkiness.
  5. Stir and continue to simmer for 30 more minutes with the cover off.
  6. Remove bay leaves.  Add tomato paste, basil, pepper.  Stir in tomato paste thoroughly.
  7. Continue to simmer with cover on for another 30 minutes, or until meatballs are ready to be added.

 

Durng the 30 minutes intervals, stir sauce occassionally.

 

MEATBALLS

After the initial 60 minute simmer period (up to Step 5 from the Sauce directions), I start prepping the meatballs.

  1. Using freshly ground meat, combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Slowly add salt and pepper, eggs, garlic and parsley.  In that order :-)
  2. Add the freshly grated cheese, 1/2 cup at a time.  Mixing into meat mixture thoroughly..
  3. Slowly add bread crumbs and water into meat mixture.  Do it in 1/4 cup, alternating items.  (First 1/4 cup of bread crumbs.  Mix.  Next , 1/4 cup of water. Mix. etc.)  Do this until you get to the second 1/4 cup of water.
  4. Before adding the last 1/4 cups of breadcrumbs and water, gauge the consistency f the mixture.  The mixture should feel very moist, but be able to hold its shape if rolled into a ball.  Do a test meatball to check on desired consistency.  If the meatball appears to dry, add more water in 1/4 cup intervals.  If the mixture appears too wet (can't hold it's shape) add more breadcrumbs annd cheese, 1/8 cup each.
  5. Shape into meatballs of desired size.  This recipe gives about 17-18 medium-large meatballs.
  6. Heat olive oil in a large pan and cook meatballs in batches.  Place on paper towel to cool and drain.
  7. After cooling, add the meatballs to the sauce.
  8. Continue to simmer sauce and meatballs for 30 more minutes, with cover on.

Make sure to give some time for the sauce to cool down before serving. You can either serve with spaghetti (cooked while meatballs are simmering in the sauce, step 8) or with a nice roll or baguette, ala a meatball sub

As a generally note for noodle cooking, salt is not required.  The sauce and meatballs themselves are pretty tasty and do not require any additional seasoning to the noodles.

Enjoy!

0 Comments ~ Posted By missiza
Filed in: Meals, pasta ~ Tagged with: spaghetti, meatballs, dinner