“Since hunger is the most primitive and permanent of human wants, men always want to eat, but since their wish not to be a mere animal is also profound, they have always attended with special care to the manners which conceal the fact that at the table we are animals feeding.” - John Erskine

02 October 2011

Ten-Year-Old Spaghetti alla Carbonara

 It’s been a crazy week leading up to another crazy week.  It was nice to stop and regroup over the weekend and to have a much needed break before plowing into the chaos again.

One bright spot in my week was that sharing my love of books, and sharing cooking and baking experiences with my oldest paid off in an unexpected way.  While he loves to read, like I do, he has some reading habits that he didn’t get from me.  He loves reading simply for information.  Book about the Titanic, Guinness Books, books about spiders, just to name a few.  I may have read such books in the past ~ I really can’t remember ~ but I can remember that pretty much from my very first book of choice (my mom says I made her read Green Eggs and Ham until she was blue in the face ~ I still love it) I was drawn to books that had little to do with real life.  I love books that let me escape from my life for a little while, and a lot of times that means the less realistic the better.  (Its great to come back to my life feeling fresh from an adventure, often with a perspective I didnt have before.)  I have tried my best to draw my oldest into Pooh Corner, Shel Silverstein, even the Hardy Boys, but so far it hasn’t taken.  Although he does love Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which I suppose qualify...

Imagine my surprise when he brings this book home from the library and tells me that he’s cooking tonight!  Be still my little heart.  Of course, all mothers of enterprising children know that he’s cooking translates to we’re cooking.  Not that I’m complaining.  I find those rare moments I manage to corral a child in the kitchen to help me some of the best times in life.  Add to those the sweet memories of sliding a knife across the cup my mother held over her giant tin flour container, twisting bread into Christmas trees, licking frosting from beaters, sprinkling fried pie crust with cinnamon sugar... Wow, I didnt realize I had that many memories of baking with my mom.

So it is with joy and not a little pride that I share this recipe, made all the sweeter because its making was a combined effort between me and my amazing 10-year-old.

Spaghetti alla carbonara
serves 4
8-12 ounces spaghetti
For the sauce:
8 ounces Canadian bacon or cooked ham
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of half and half cream
ground black pepper
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup butter
1 level tablespoon chopped parsley

Peel and chop the onion.  Using scissors or a knife, cut the bacon into ½ inch strips.  Peel and crush the garlic.*

Read the instructions on the package of spaghetti to find out how long it will take to cook.  Add it to the boiling water.

Heat the oil gently in a frying pan.  Add the onion and garlic, and cook them for about five minutes until they are soft.

Add the bacon or ham.  If you are using bacon, cook it until it is brown and crispy.  If you are using ham, cook until it is hot.

Use a fork to beat the eggs, cream, a pinch of black pepper and most of the cheese to make a creamy mixture.

When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it and then put it back into the pan.  Add the butter and toss the spaghetti until it is coated.

Add the bacon, onion and garlic then stir in the cheesy mixture.  Use a fork to toss the spaghetti quickly, until it is coated.

Put the spaghetti onto four plates or bowls.  Sprinkle on the parsley and the rest of the cheese.  Serve immediately.

*Crushing garlic: If you don’t have a garlic press, put a clove of garlic on a chopping board.  Put the back of a spoon onto it and press down.

We only had regular bacon, so we skipped the oil and made sure to drain the bacon well.  You know I didnt use the onions, and although one of these days Ill have to get some actual garlic cloves and show my kid(s) how to mince it, if Id had both I would have cooked them in the bacon grease.  We also skipped the parsley.  Our noodles were also ready way sooner than we were, and were already starting to cool by the time we had the egg mixture ready, so watch your timing.  This turned out to be a buttery, mild-flavored pasta which my whole family inhaled.  I hope you grab someone you love and enjoy sharing it as much as I did.

1 comment:

  1. I love that you are cooking with Sean, precious memories and teaching moments! Way to go! :)