Tag: Pancetta

Pasta Carbonara (aka: Breakfast Pasta)

Pasta Carbonara (aka: Breakfast Pasta)

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This is one of the first dishes I made when I started getting serious about cooking. It’s a traditional and authentic recipe from Italy and it’s easy to make: all of which makes this a good dish to make for novice home cooks.

This is Italian comfort food. It’s as warm and fuzzy and comfortable as a glass of brandy on a cold day.

 

Ingredients for pasta carbonara
You can use American bacon to make this dish but traditionally it’s made with pancetta, which is available in most supermarkets in the deli section.

 

I call it “breakfast pasta,” because you use bacon and eggs to make it. The traditional recipe calls for pancetta, which is often referred to as Italian bacon, but to be honest, I always made it with good old American bacon and it’s wonderful (some might say even better). I now often make it with whatever pork product I have on hand.

This time I had some leftover pancetta (from the Ribollita soup I made last week) and some Italian sausage (left over from the tomato sauce I also made last week). So I decided to use both and the combination gave it more flavors to savor.

 

Pancetta and sausage cooking.
Whatever meat you use be sure to cook it thoroughly and it turns a little crispy.

 

If you make it using pancetta, you get wonderful, juicy pieces of pork and fat; crumbled Italian sausage adds depth and a smoky flavor; while American bacon gives it a crispy, salty, sweetness that is like heaven on your tongue.

 

A bowl of pasta carbonara.
Save a little grated cheese to sprinkle on top of the dish.

 

Yes, this dish is fatty and oily because you use the bacon/pancetta/sausage drippings to flavor the pasta, but you’re not eating it every day. Save it for a special weeknight meal when it’s cold and rainy, or snowing. And pair it with a good bottle of red table wine or even a bold, heavy white.

As the Italians say, “cin cin” (pronounced, “chin, chin”), which is a toast meaning “to your health!”

 

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Pasta Carbonara

March 18, 2012
: 6-8
: 20 min
: Easy

This comes together quickly and would make a good, easy, weeknight supper.

By:

Ingredients
  • Butter (1 tbl.)
  • Linguini (1 lb.)
  • Bacon or Pancetta and/or Italian sausage (minced, 1 lb.)
  • Onion (1 small)
  • Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese (grated, 2 tbl.)
  • Eggs (2, large)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Parsley (a small bunch, minced)
Directions
  • Step 1 Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook linguini until “al dente.” While water heats up, do the following:
  • Step 2 Saute the onion in butter until soft, just turning color.
  • Step 3 Add minced bacon or pancetta and/or sausage and saute until soft, just a little crispy.
  • Step 4 Beat 2 eggs, add grated cheese and mix well.
  • Step 5 Add pepper and 1 tbl. of minced parsley to bacon and onion in the pan. Stir to cook.
  • Step 6 The rendered oils from the bacon or pancetta are a major flavor ingredient of this recipe so do not remove the oil from the pan.
  • Step 7 Quickly drain the linguini and place in a large bowl.
  • Step 8 Add egg-cheese mixture to saute pan (removed now from heat) and stir well.
  • Step 9 The heat of the ingredients and the pan will cook the egg somewhat, so keep the mixture moving.
  • Step 10 Taste, add salt or pepper if needed.
  • Step 11 Add mixture to linguini and serve immediately.

 

 

The Best Ribollita Soup Recipe

The Best Ribollita Soup Recipe

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This is one of my most requested recipes. Also known as “Tuscan Bean Soup,” it is a real crowd pleaser. I’ve tripled this recipe and fed nearly 50 people with it at our annual Christmas open house party.

 

Bowls filled with vegetables
There’s a lot of chopping required to make this soup. Using a food processor makes it easier and quicker.

 

It’s an Italian vegetable soup, with a jolt of meat. I got this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, but incorporated a few short cuts so you can make this in about 1 1/2 hours. There are other ribollita soup recipes out there, but trust me, this is the best. I’ve been told this by other Italians.

 

Pancetta in a bowl.
Don’t try to make this soup without pancetta. It’s what gives this soup a deep, smoky, flavor.

 

If you’re not familiar with pancetta, think of it as Italian bacon. You can find it in the deli section at most supermarkets and it comes either as a whole piece, sliced, or cubed. I bought mine as a whole piece and then chopped it up into small cubes. It is made from pork and then cured, but it needs to be cooked before you can eat it.

 

A bowl of Ribollita soup.
Colorful, hearty, delicious and nutritious describes Ribollita soup. Make sure you use sourdough bread too. It’s an essential ingredient.

 

The taste is sweet and a little sour with a punch of heat from the crushed red pepper flakes. It’s a great, hearty soup on a cold winter night.

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Ribollita Soup

December 6, 2009
: About 12
: 1 hr
: 1 hr 30 min
: Easy-Medium

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Ingredients
  • 1 large can of cannellini beans (about 19 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 pound diced pancetta
  • 2 cups chopped onions (about 2 onions)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (about 3 carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I always use Kosher as it’s the most flavorful.)
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 oz.) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (preferably the imported Parmesan Reggiano), for serving
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot.
  • Step 2 Add the pancetta and onions. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. (Stir occasionally)
  • Step 3 Add the carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. (Stir occasionally)
  • Step 4 Add the tomatoes with the puree, the kale, and basil. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. (Stir occasionally)
  • Step 5 Rinse the cannellini beans under cold water. Puree half of them in a food processor with about 1/2 cup of water.
  • Step 6 Add pureed beans to the soup. And then add the remaining half of the whole beans. And stir.
  • Step 7 Add the eight cups of chicken stock.
  • Step 8 Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Step 9 Add the bread cubes to the soup and simmer another 10 minutes.
  • Step 10 Serve hot in large bowls. Sprinkle a little freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. And then drizzle a little olive oil over it.