I was just blogging last week about how lots of people would love to cook more, but feel a little overwhelmed by it all. As my little contribution to solving this problem, I’m going to give you one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever attempt: my dad’s carbonara. It’s both lighter (no cream) and tastier (more contrast) than your usual carbonara. Best of all, it comes from an East Coast bookie who’s been cooking since he’s been in short pants. That kind of experience can’t be bought at Le Cordon Bleu.
1 lb. spaghetti
1/3 lb. prosciutto, sliced ¼-inch thick, then diced
1 4-oz. jar diced pimentos, undrained
1 4-oz. can diced black olives, drained
1 cup frozen peas
2 eggs, beaten and at room temperature
lots of olive oil
3-4 tablespoons butter
lots of grated Locatelli Romano cheese
As soon as you put the pasta into boiling water, generously coat a large pan with olive oil over medium heat. Toss in the prosciutto and let it heat up about 2 minutes, then toss in the pimentos, olives and peas. Once the peas heat through (but before they lose their green-ness), turn the heat way down low and add in as much of the butter as your waistline can handle.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it and immediately transfer it into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle a few handfuls of cheese over it, toss quickly to distribute the cheese, then add the egg and toss immediately to coat. When you see flecks of slightly curdled egg stuck to the noodles, you’re ready to add the “sauce.” Toss lightly, then sprinkle with black pepper and more grated cheese to taste.
If this doesn’t get raves from your dinner guests, email me and I’ll try to figure out what you did wrong.