The Italian Job

Heading east we cross the border into Italy.

Many centuries ago (about 1295), it is said that Marco Polo travelled from the opposite direction, returning from Asia and was about to launch noodles a al pasta onto the Romans inflicting a legacy that would change the shape of Italian cuisine forever. Well, sorry to be a party pooper but its all falsehoods.

There are ancient manuscripts detailing the existence of pasta before Polo returned to Venice. In fact, Sicilian woodcutters leveled forests (where were the Greens when you need them?) during Ancient Roman times and replaced them with wheat crops. The Romans of Sicily made pasta from the excess wheat.

Which brings us to Spaghetti alla Carbonara …

… a slight tweaking and it becomes Pappardelle alla Carbonara (Pappardelle with Egg-Pancetta Sauce).

Why Pappardelle? It’s always fun hand-ripping large sheets of fresh egg pasta.

A  fresh pasta recipe is fairly straight forward. 100 grams of strong flour, one large egg, salt and a little olive oil. Just increase the recipe per the number of clientele, approximately 125 grams of pasta per person. You can make the pasta by hand or use a food processor.

I presented two versions of Carbonara to the family … the Classic Italian and the not so classic Aussie version.

I sourced the recipe for the Classic Italian version from Giuliano Bugialli’s book, The Fine Art of Italian Cooking. Black and white photographs with authentic Italian recipes. You will not see any bacon or cream in Signor Bugialli’s recipe.

Grab some pancetta, garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook in a saucepan with some olive oil on a low heat for 12 – 15 minutes. This is to render the fat from the pancetta. Meanwhile beat 2 eggs with 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano (or Parmesan) cheese. Have a large quantity of boiling salted water ready for cooking the pasta. 1/2 kilogram of pasta is good. Once the pasta is al dente, drain and place in a serving bowl. Quickly spoon the pancetta mix over the pasta and add the egg and Parmesan mix. Toss and serve immediately. It’s delicious.

Carbonara no 2, the Aussie version, was the bacon, cream and onion arrangement –it didn’t deserve fresh pasta so I got the supermarket version.

No matter how much I tried to dumb it down, the Aussie style Carbonara proved more popular with the young-uns. Sorry Signor Bugialli.

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One thought on “The Italian Job

  1. Pingback: The Italian Job | fresh ginger

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