Picture it, January 4, 2018. The East Coast had extremely high winds. The high was only 26 degrees, without the wind chill factor. And there was snow swirling around in the wind. I found out it was Spaghetti Carbonara Day from Foodimentary http://foodimentary.com. So I decided to make Spaghetti.
Now, my roommate’s favorite spaghetti is my homemade sauce (see it here and here. Alas I didn’t have any canned tomato products in the house. And that nixed the Bolognese sauce as well. With the bad weather that day, I was not about to travel to the grocery store. No way. Nope. Not gonna do it.
But I was determined. So I looked up other spaghetti noodle recipes.
Hooray! Spaghetti Carbonara didn’t need any tomato products! It’s a wonderful silky eggy Italian spaghetti dish that made me think of breakfast spaghetti. But I ran into another problem. I didn’t have any Parmesan cheese! And no pancetta (that’s Italian ham for those not in the know). What was this diyhomegoddess to do?
Don’t Be Afraid To Revamp
So, here I am, determined to make spaghetti to honor the day. I checked out what I had. I happened to have a half pound of bacon in my freezer. And I had cheddar cheese with hints of caramel. What the heck. I changed up the recipe, not being afraid to make things different, especially since punting was the only option! I made Spaghetti Carbonara a la Americana. Changing the meat, cheese, and oil got rid of all the Italian flavors.
Recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara a la Americana
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound bacon, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 pound spaghetti
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Parsley (optional)
- Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot (don’t forget to add salt!).
- Heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium (about 5) high heat (see hint below).
- Add the chopped bacon and minced garlic to the pan. Cook until the bacon is crispy and the garlic appears translucent.
- Add the wine, and cook for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and put in a large glass or ceramic bowl. You will need a bowl big enough to put all the pasta in.
- In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs and about 3/4 of the cheese.
- Once the water is boiling, add the pasta (unbroken!) and cook at a boil until al dente (about 8-10 minutes).
- Don’t drain the pasta when it is ready. Quickly remove the pasta with your pasta tongs and put it into the bowl with the bacon and garlic. Don’t shake the pasta, put it in the bowl while nice and wet. See, this is why you need a big bowl.
- Reserve some of the pasta water.
- Remix the egg mixture. Add the egg mixture to the pasta mixture quickly and toss. Move fast, as the hot pasta will cook the eggs enough to be safe to eat. Add salt to taste if necessary (I usually don’t put in the extra salt).
- Add enough pasta water to make the liquid creamy and not let the pasta get dry.
- Sprinkle the 1/4 leftover cheese on top and hit it with some ground pepper and parsley (if desired) and serve right from the bowl.
You can get the recipe printout here.
- Pasta needs salted water to add flavor and to control the starch level. This means the pasta is less gummy and has more texture.
- You can tell when the oil is hot enough when you toss a few drops of water into the oil, and the water dances.
- Pasta water adds a depth of flavor to any sauce, so pull out about 1/2 to 1 cup before draining.
Spaghetti Carbonara a la Americana. You don’t need to do any recipe exact. Any diyhomegoddess needs to be willing to change it up. Easy changes make for a newer tasty dish. And it’s your own. Maybe you can make it Greek with some lamb and feta? Or Mexican with a nacho cheese blend and chorizo?
What other cuisine can you create by just changing the meat and cheese?