A match made in heaven is peas and pancetta. My Pasta Carbonara highlights these two ingredients perfectly. One main ingredient, in this dish, is freshly cracked/ground black pepper. From what I understand, many years ago, this dish got its name from woodcutters who made charcoal for fuel. Those men would come home dirty and black from a hard day’s work. Therefore the black pepper in this dish represents that look.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 deep-sided frying pan, 1 (6-quart) saucepot, chef’s knife, 2 large mixing bowls, 1 small mixing bowl, a 1 (10-cup) food processor, colander spoon
2 (16-ounces) boxes (2 pounds) of Gemelli (substitute 1 1/2 boxes (1/2 pounds) of spaghetti)
1 (10-ounce) package of thawed frozen peas
1/4 pound of pancetta, diced
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup of dry white wine (substitute chicken broth, unsalted)
4 whole eggs plus, 1 yolk
2 cups of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (reserve 1/4 cup back to top serving dishes)
1 pinch of Kosher salt to taste (a good handful of Kosher salt for pasta water)
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of Italian parsley flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Place a large saucepot on the stove filled with water over medium-high heat. This will allow you time to prepare the ingredients for the dish while waiting for the water to boil.
1). Have ready, a whole package of thawed frozen peas in a bowl.
2). In a large cold sauté pan add olive oil and diced pancetta. Do not turn the heat on just yet.
3). Grind enough Parmesan cheese, in a food processor, to yield 2 cups. Transfer the grated cheese to a bowl and set aside.
Note: Reserve 1/4 cup of the grated cheese to top individual servings.
In another bowl, crack 4 eggs and one egg yolk and beat them together with 1 tablespoon of fresh ground black pepper. Measure a 1/4 cup of dry white wine (or chicken broth), and have the minced garlic set to one side. Once all the ingredients are ready it’s time to make the dish.
Turn the deep-sided frying pan with the diced pancetta and olive oil to medium heat. Start to render down the pancetta, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Add a handful of Kosher salt into the pot of boiling water. Add the pasta, of your choice, giving it a big stir, and follow the cooking time according to the directions on the box.
Once the pancetta is crispy transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Drain off all but 3 tablespoons of the pancetta fat in the pan. If you don’t think you have that much, you can add a little olive oil.
This process goes fairly quickly. Pan still on medium heat, next, add in the minced garlic, diced shallot, and the wine. Using a wooden spoon, and while shallots and garlic are cooking, around 3 to 4 minutes, scrape up all those delicious pancetta bits that are trapped in the bottom of the pan. Let that liquid bubble up for about a minute until the alcohol has cooked out.
To the pan, using one of those large colander spoons, transfer the pasta into the pan. Next, return the cooked pancetta to the pan. Make sure to coat all pasta with the pancetta fat, wine, and garlic that has remained in the pan. Note: if the pasta seems a little too dry and sticking together, add in a little olive oil to loosen it up.
At this point, add the crispy pancetta, the peas (the heat will warm the peas through), and the egg mixture. Using a pair of tongs, toss to combine while still over the heat, until eggs just start to set. Turn the heat off, but keep the pan on the burner. Immediately add the grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Toss those ingredients through then remove them from the heat.
Pasta Carbonara is best served hot. Don’t forget about adding more cheese to the top of your dish! Ther you have it, my Pasta Carbonara.