Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Pasta Carbonara and Give a Book a Chance
I am asking all of you to reprimand me if I ever write off a cookbook without, at least, making 5 recipes. About a year ago, I received a book that I was looking forward to, 5 Ingredient Fix. When it was delivered, I grabbed it, sat down in a comfy chair and started going through my new book.
I don't know how any of your react to a new cookbook but I am happy and excited. It reminds me of the first day of school, as a child, with my brand new notebook and sharpened pencils which to me, symbolized a new beginning.
This is similar. A new cookbook symbolizes that new beginning, in that it is a new book to read, if the author adds some of her/himself to the mix. It opens door to new takes on old recipes and brand new recipes (at least to me). It also allows me to see beautiful photos with unique presentations. Best, usually a new cookbook inspires me and I fill it with stickies to mark the recipes, I want to make.
I approached this book by Claire Robinson with the same happiness and excitement but it did not last. For some reason, her recipes left me wanting and she gives little in the way of who she is. I put the book down (actually on a book shelf) and never looked at it again. OK, not never. Today, I went to the bookcase to find something to look for dinner in. I went from book to book, including my favorites, and nothing jumped out at me. Five Ingredient Fix caught my eye and I removed it, from the shelf and I admit, I had no hopes until, I opened it up and saw a completely different book. As I perused the pages, I was selecting recipes to make and two of these, were made tonight.
Claire's Spaghetti Carbonara from the 5 Ingredient Fix by Claire Robinson (adapted)
1 pound gluten-free spaghetti
1 whole large egg, plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup grated Parmesan plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups baby spinach leaves
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat and salt generously. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg and yolks, 1 cup cheese and pepper together in a small bowl.
When the pasta is ready, using a ladle, slowly whisk about 1/2 cup pasta cooking water into the egg and cheese mixture until loosened. Reserve some additional cooking water.
Drain the pasta and return to pot with some of the pasta water that has been reserved. Slowly drizzle the egg mixture over the pasta until it is completely coated. Add more cooking water if pasta seems dry.
Add the spinach leaves to the saucepan and toss until combined. Transfer the carbonara to a serving bowl and serve immediately with more cheese sprinkled over the top.
Claire's Note: The key to perfect carbonara is working while everything is piping hot; this assures the egg will cook and produce a silky, creamy sauce that sticks to the pasta.