I love carbonara.
My love affair with it began on New Year's Eve, 2003, in New York City. I had gone with a group of college friends to NYC to celebrate the New Year--something everyone should do once, and at about $70 a person, how could I pass it up?
Seven people were sharing one NYC hotel room designed for maybe four. The bathroom was the size of a small coat closet. Richelle and I shared one bed, with the rest of the gang (all boys, except Richelle's sister Laura) taking the floor and the other bed. (Getting guys to share a bed is like brokering Middle East peace.)
We only had one full day in New York, and we were all spending it differently. Richelle and I had taken a "shop 'til we drop" approach, with cab rides and a trip to Bergdorf's, Tiffany's, Saks, and the couture shops along Madion Avenue. We also visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art's gift shop, St. Pat's, and the American Girl Store.
For lunch that day, we went back to the hotel to drop off some of our packages and regroup. Our hotel had a neat little restaurant on the first floor--dark carpet, ivory curtains that overlooked the street (we were right across from Madison Square Garden). Richelle ordered a mushroom plate, adorned with heavy, luxurious portobello slices. I ordered carbonara.
It was sublime. Just perfect for a cold NYC day. The delicate balance of cream, egg, and pancetta played brilliantly against the silky pasta. I had tried carbonara at home, but this was the way it should be done.
I was hooked. Ever since then, I have made it one of my goals to cook as many carbonara recipes as possible, in an attempt to find my favorite.
Tonight's comes from my copy of Nigella's How To Eat.
REVIEW: Tonight's was equally sublime. Very fast, once you get the pasta in the water (waiting for the water to boil takes the longest). No cream, either, in her recipe, which may make it slightly more healthy (although you do use one egg yolk and one whole egg). The idea of her recipe is that you should have all these things on hand.