Those that know me, know my penchant for the Italian philosophy of cooking. It’s kinda like the ‘kiss’ principle. They cook seasonally. And locally. They also know that by doing this, they are well on the way to great food. The next step…? Don’t mess with the food so much. Great products do not need fussing. Just TLC and respect.
Then there’s cucina povera, which I know I’ve talked about before and probably will again. Why? Again, it’s based on the their philosophy of cooking – their respect for food. Why waste…. anything! Really! Especially when you’re starting out with wonderful fresh, seasonal and local products.
So… to what does a first generation Canadian of Polish heritage owe this infatuation to?? It all started with my high school friend Anna – indeed, her entire family. I have told you that my Mom was a fantastic cook. After growing up on meat and potatoes that sustained us in farm life, as well as the world`s best cabbage rolls, barszcz, bigos and pierogi… my intro to Italian food knocked my socks off!! I can still taste senora Evangelista`s lasagna, with her homemade pasta and sauce, the booze soaked cakes – my first taste of zucchini, mortadella and espresso at her sister Claudia`s house…. so wonderful, so exotic…. I LOVED IT ALL!
Love at first bite, if you will.
I still can’t get enough of it. If you were to take a look in my fridge, you’d usually find the items listed above, as well as Parmigiano Reggiano. And since I’ve mentioned it, if you’re buying anything else for your pasta grating cheese – why are you? The real thing is pricey, but a little goes a long way and is worth every cent. And if you practice cucina povera, you save the rind and let it simmer in a pot of soup. How’s that for smart?? How’s that for value??
So, for tonight’s dinner…? After a very long day of work, I wanted my go to. Pasta. Linguine, specifically, Linguine Carbonara. I didn’t have pancetta, so I made it without. No matter what the sauce, to me, there’s just something about the texture of biting through a twirled forkful of perfectly al dente pasta….
To serve 2
Because of the very few ingredients used, be sure to use good quality ones. This is so quick to put together, put the pasta on to cook, and by the time it’s perfectly al dente, the sauce will be ready. The heat from the pasta ‘cooks’ the egg, so don’t be alarmed. Don’t forget to sprinkle some more Parmigiano, salt and freshly ground black pepper, before serving. If you don’t like the idea of the raw egg yolk on top, omit it. Buon appetito~
1/2 box Barilla, or other good quality durum wheat pasta
salt, for cooking the pasta (a very large pinch – I don’t measure it, just grab it from my salt bowl)
2 egg yolks, for garnish
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmigiano Reggiano, plus a bit for garnish
salt and freshly ground pepper
Put a large pot of water on to boil and remove eggs from the fridge.
Finely grate the Parmigiano and set aside.
Add salt to the pot of boiling water and cook pasta according to package directions.
In a heatproof medium sized bowl, whisk the whole egg and season with salt and freshly ground pepper; add the Parmigiano and set aside.
When the pasta is cooked, either transfer with tongs to the egg and cheese mix, or drain, saving a bit of the pasta water – to loosen the sauce if necessary.
Toss the pasta until the sauce clings to it; if it’s too thin, add a little more cheese and if it seems a little dry, add a bit of the saved pasta water.
If using the egg yolk on top, make a little indent with a spoon and put the egg yolk in it (you stir it in when eating, yum!)
Finish with another sprinkle of cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper.