It's still hectic for Ruth as she settles into her new home in Halifax so I'm thinking that I should make something easy, comforting but quite luxurious for this weeks Presto Pasta Night.
The pasta I'm using today is called Bavette and it comes from Genoa. It's basically a flattened spaghetti with a slight convex shape - it's particularly good for carrying sauces and would be the pasta to use with pesto.
Once again I'll be tempting fate with the pasta purists as I'll be using it with a carbonara sauce. Strictly speaking carbonara is made from a "soffritto di guanciale" - guanciale is cured pork cheek and it's simply sautéed until crisp. The sauce is made from a combination of raw eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino - there's no cream in it at all. Once the pasta has cooked, the guanciale is tossed through along with the beaten eggs and cheese and basically the heat of the pasta cooks the sauce.
In this version I'm using pancetta since guanciale is not available here. I've also added red onion because I think it adds more flavour to the dish. The rest of the process is fairly traditional and the end result is definitely satisfying.
Bavette, fresh or dried
1 medium red onion, sliced finely
120 grams Pancetta, cut into batons
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
freshly grated Pecorino
freshly ground black pepper
Heat a little oil in a pan and add the Pancetta batons - sauté until golden and then remove from the pan. Add the onions and cook until softened and starting to colour - return the pancetta to the pan and keep on a low heat.
In a bowl, add the eggs along with a handful of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino and a good grinding of black pepper. Whisk with a fork to amalgamate.
When the pasta has cooked add it to the pancetta and toss it well then pour in the egg mixture, remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir - there should be enough heat in the pasta and the pan to cook the eggs without turning them into scrambled eggs. You'll notice the sauce start to thicken and cling to the pasta.
Serve it immediately with a little extra Parmigiano-Reggiano.
The colour of the dish will depend of the eggs used and luckily the ones I buy have wonderful yellow yolks that translate into this gloriously rich and almost golden sauce.
I don't add any salt to the sauce as there is more than enough in the pancetta and cheese.
I buy the pancetta as a thick slice about 1-2 centimetres and then slice it myself into the appropriate sized batons. You could substitute bacon or another cured pork product.
You could also add some finely diced chilli when cooking the onions if you prefer it a little hotter.
Tagged with Presto Pasta Night