It’s cold right now in New Orleans.
After a couple weeks of fruitlessly trying to get my bedroom warm enough to where I don’t wake up with a frozen nose at 3am, I’ve finally decided it just ain’t gonna happen. I live in a raised shotgun and, although the house has central heat, my room is in the back, has a 12-foot ceiling, and is drafty as hell so it will take a lot more effort than I’m willing to make to warm it up. The front room, however, remains nice and toasty so I’ve migrated to the couch for the remainder of the winter.
In an effort to warm up, I’ve also turned to some tried-and-true comfort foods, including chili, mac and cheese, and pho tai. The first two I made at home, but the craving for pho was strong enough to lure me out of the house and across the river, despite the chill. Oh, Pho Tau Bay, how I love you.
Another dish I tend to crave when it’s cold out is spaghetti carbonara, although I’m not sure why. Maybe I subconsciously know all those fattening ingredients will provide the additional layer of blubber needed for me to make it through the winter.
I know lots of people in the U.S. make carbonara with cream, that just seems to cross the line of decency, you know? Bacon, egg, cheese, oil, and cream? No way, Jose Giuseppe. Italian style for me.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
1 lb spaghetti
1/3 lb bacon, pancetta, or comparable salty pork product, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
salt and lotsa freshly-ground black pepper
1. Begin cooking the bacon in a large skillet. Once the fat starts to render, throw in the onion, season with black pepper, and cook until bacon is done and onions have softened. Set aside.
2. Cook the spaghetti (make sure you salt the water) al dente and drain.
3. Heat the bacon and onions back up and add spaghetti. Once all that junk is nice and mixed, pour the egg yolks over it and toss to coat the pasta (be sure to do so vigorously to avoid having scrambled egg in your pasta). Then add the Parmesan, black pepper and toss it some more! If you think it’s too dry, you can always add a little olive oil or some of the water you cooked the pasta in.
4. Serve and devour, preferably while wearing a Snuggie, buried under a mountain of blankets, sitting in front of a fireplace. Maybe with a cat curled up against you.