Friday, April 27, 2007

Presto Pasta Night #9

It's still hectic for Ruth as she settles into her new home in Halifax so I'm thinking that I should make something easy, comforting but quite luxurious for this weeks Presto Pasta Night.

The pasta I'm using today is called Bavette and it comes from Genoa. It's basically a flattened spaghetti with a slight convex shape - it's particularly good for carrying sauces and would be the pasta to use with pesto.

Once again I'll be tempting fate with the pasta purists as I'll be using it with a carbonara sauce. Strictly speaking carbonara is made from a "soffritto di guanciale" - guanciale is cured pork cheek and it's simply sautéed until crisp. The sauce is made from a combination of raw eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino - there's no cream in it at all. Once the pasta has cooked, the guanciale is tossed through along with the beaten eggs and cheese and basically the heat of the pasta cooks the sauce.

In this version I'm using pancetta since guanciale is not available here. I've also added red onion because I think it adds more flavour to the dish. The rest of the process is fairly traditional and the end result is definitely satisfying.


Bavette Carbonara
[Serves 2]

Bavette, fresh or dried
1 medium red onion, sliced finely
120 grams Pancetta, cut into batons
2 eggs
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
freshly grated Pecorino
freshly ground black pepper

Heat a little oil in a pan and add the Pancetta batons - sauté until golden and then remove from the pan. Add the onions and cook until softened and starting to colour - return the pancetta to the pan and keep on a low heat.

In a bowl, add the eggs along with a handful of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino and a good grinding of black pepper. Whisk with a fork to amalgamate.

When the pasta has cooked add it to the pancetta and toss it well then pour in the egg mixture, remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir - there should be enough heat in the pasta and the pan to cook the eggs without turning them into scrambled eggs. You'll notice the sauce start to thicken and cling to the pasta.

Serve it immediately with a little extra Parmigiano-Reggiano.


The colour of the dish will depend of the eggs used and luckily the ones I buy have wonderful yellow yolks that translate into this gloriously rich and almost golden sauce.

I don't add any salt to the sauce as there is more than enough in the pancetta and cheese.
I buy the pancetta as a thick slice about 1-2 centimetres and then slice it myself into the appropriate sized batons. You could substitute bacon or another cured pork product.
You could also add some finely diced chilli when cooking the onions if you prefer it a little hotter.

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  1. i love everything that has bacon in it. this looks so good. shall i pretend i didnt have lunch today and cook a batch of these? YUM

  2. Despite the bacon part I would make this pasta dish my daily treat. The pasta looks so shiny and so tender. Just perfet.

  3. Carbonara really is one of the world's great dishes, isn't it? (Thanks for the Farmer's Market listing: great idea!)

  4. The pasta looks delicious, but it is the cupcake I've been admiring and drooling over. Beautiful presentation Haalo!

  5. I don't think I've heard of this pasta before. Everything looks good. I love red onions and am glad you used it here. Now, if I could only taste what you made, I'd be happy.

    Paz (who'll have to make her own. Thanks for the recipe!)

  6. Not that I'm a food snob or a purist, but I'm very happy to see your recipe for Carbonara isn't one that contains double cream, as I've come to realise few people understand that's not how the sauce achieves the creaminess we associate with Carbonara. Whisked eggs, folded through the cooked pasta away from the heat is, to my knowledge and understanding, the genuine method for traditional Carbonara. Did I mention it looks gorgeous Haalo, or do I really need to?... Your photography speaks for itself

  7. Gorgeous photos and such an appealing dish. Thanks so much for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. And it is perfect for this weekend. All the craziness is over and I need a spectacular but easy comfort food.

  8. That looks fantastic, and sounds very tasty. I think I'll give it a try this weekend - looks too easy not to!

  9. I'm drooling. That looks sooo good!

  10. Thanks Myriam - add some of your wonderful bread to dip into the sauce and it would make an most filling dinner

    Thanks Rose - I'm thinking some chanterelles sautéed until crispy might be a nice switch from the pancetta.

    Thanks Stephanie - there are so many markets it's hard to keep track of them. Carbonara is hard to beat with it's purity of flavours.

    Thanks Mandira - enjoy a cupcake after the pasta ;)

    Thanks Paz - bavette do look very similiar to fettucine or linguine so either could be used along with spaghetti of course. I'd be more than happy to make a bowl or two of this for you.

    Thank you Trig - you are always very generous in your comments. The trouble with carbonara is that it's originals are quite murky. I understand that originally it was made using squid ink and given the name carbonara because it was black like coal. I do know that other stories exist that claim it to be a dish for coalminers, regardless of it's history, there was never any cream.

    Thanks Ruth - this is a lush dish that should leave you most satisfied.

    Thanks Christianne - i hope you enjoy it!

    Thanks Brilynn - I'm sure it would be excellent with your home made bacon!


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