Spaghetti Carbonara

Okay, so when Jade talked about pasta, I had an urge to eat it and went to look for recipes. Of course, I had to make my pasta before I realised she’d posted some really simple and quick recipes to try. *falls over* I’d gone to recipezaar and found a few simple carbonara recipes that used items I already had and didn’t use cream or evaporated milk. The simple recipes were pretty similar so I generally scribbled down the amounts of ingredients I’d need and the general idea of preparing the dish.

So yesterday, for a very late lunch (because I’d read till late again and I woke up late again), I attempted my carbonara. I went and weighed out 2oz of angel hair pasta (at least I think that’s what it should be. The label just calls it spaghetti. The thinner type.), and I am making sure I remember this amount because it’s exactly right for one person. About a fistful of pasta with your fingers clenched around it but still touching your palm–at least for me anyway. So I boiled the pasta in some salted water because I know that I’ll never be able to add enough salt to the dish otherwise as I’m quite inexperienced and still don’t know just how much gives enough taste. (With my cold noodle salad, the noodles had been quite salty when cooked actually, but it was balanced out by the dressing.)

So anyways, while the pasta was cooking away, I chopped up one small red onion, and chopped up a slice of ham. In truth, I wanted something crispier in my pasta, but we don’t eat bacon so we didn’t have any. I fried the onions in a bit of melted butter till brown (because I wanted the colour) and then I dropped in the ham to fry. They didn’t turn crispy *pout* and became even softer pieces of meat. Then I broke an egg in a bowl, and added salt and a few dashes of ground nutmeg (1/8 tsp) and some freshly grated parmesan cheese (1/8 of a cup); and beat it all up.

Drain your pasta and add it to the pan. The fire should be out. Though one recipe had suggested keeping it on low heat. I kept it on low heat (you’ll know why as you read on). I added some more melted butter (I used 1 tbsp in total for the whole thing) and stirred it through the pasta. Then I added my egg mixture and mixed it all up. I must admit that at this point I had paused. My pasta had sauce, yes, but it was uncooked egg, no matter what you call it! And I have a thing about uncooked egg. Unless it’s in a cha soba dipping sauce, or in a runny egg yolk, I can’t stomach the taste of uncooked egg. *_* So I was quite wary about calling the dish done. I mean, in one recipe I’d read, it said the egg will be cooked by the hot pasta. And it didn’t look anywhere near cooked, cos I _saw_ drips of egg. -_- So I turned up the heat up a bit and stirred the pasta about. And it still all looked uncooked. ToT It might have been the darn cheese in the egg, which didn’t help me much. But when the egg was sticking to the pan, I turned off the heat, turned my pasta onto a plate and hoped for the best. I had a bit of parmesan left over, so I sprinkled it over the plate.

Just look at that miserable looking ham. *pokes it* And if you can see lil brown bits, I can’t decide if it was the nutmeg or my onions. Haha.

Comments about my try: As expected, I didn’t add enough salt, but the nutmeg added quite a bit of flavour and the saltiness of the ham helped a lot. I wish I’d found the minced garlic I’d wanted to add, and used a bit more onion to flavour as well. (I’d eaten some carbonara which had seemed like it was made with cream of mushroom soup, but it had some fried onions in it that had really added to the taste and I’d liked it, but it seems I couldn’t duplicate the onion taste.)

I was fine with the way the overall dish turned out. It tasted all right, though it was a bit dry and I would have liked it creamier. I’d eaten carbonara at a restaurant before, and it had been dryer than my attempt, but there had still been quite a rich creamy taste to it. Might be the use of cream, huh? I found the parmesan too sandy for my liking though (I don’t know if I should have ground it finely or not, but I guess it didn’t melt properly). And I don’t really know why people use parmesan so I’m going to look it up. I find the cheese a bit bland. Is it the smell it adds to dishes? Actually I find mozarella even blander. But it’s such a nice texture. Or maybe they just don’t sell nice cheeses here. -_-

I’ll try Jade’s recipe next time. But you know… Are you sure the egg won’t taste all raw and funny uncooked with all that stuff mixed in it? T_T

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Oh, I’d used melted butter because the recipes I’d looked at used that. I _might_ have used olive oil instead, but I’m a n00b at this olive oil thing, and the type I’d bought was quite…fragrant and had a bit of a distinct flavour, and I wasn’t sure I wanted that with all that egg sauce. Now, perhaps someone might like to mention the type of olive oils they use and why they like them? As a reference for me. ^_^;

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