So the very first Monday we started implementing Meatless Mondays into our routine didn’t go so well.  Derek and I get home from school famished as usual.  I make us these big beautiful sandwiches, his turkey, mine roasted buffalo.  We dig in like a bunch of animals.  Halfway through I realized what we’ve done.  We laugh at our vegetarian incompetence and go on eating our delicious sandwiches.  But I commit to going through with it for the rest of the night.  I made the Spaghetti Squash with Marinara and we are in heaven.  I think, “I can do this!”  I go to work that night, and after about a minute I realize that working at a steakhouse might be a little, let’s say, torturous on these Mondays.  To top it all off my friend Kate has ordered some Spaghetti Carbonara from La Traviata, and of course offers me some.  I had never been to the restaurant, even though their owner and GM frequent our restaurant bar and are great people.  She tells me it’s the best carbonara she’s ever had.  I’m salivating like mad, but refuse her nonetheless.  But let me tell you, I had been thinking about that tempting little dish of pasta since.  Derek and I finally made it to La Traviata for dinner; a lovely little spot nestled downtown, apparently always packed, and the food is delicious.  When that beautiful bowl of spaghetti carbonara hit my table it was almost a relief, since I had been thinking about it for so long.  And it did not disappoint; luxurious and smoky from the pancetta with the bite from the green onions.  It was wonderful night.  I decided to make it for myself.  I was craving something decadent.  I snagged the recipe from Foodnetwork.com as I had seen Anne Burrell make it on her show at some point.  It was amazing, and so easy to put together!  They (who “they” are exactly I’m not sure, maybe Italians) say that a true carbonara has no cream in it, the creaminess comes from the eggs.  I like heavy cream just like the next guy, but I loved the yolky richness when the cream was omitted.   This dish will surely fill you up, the way only a beautifully simple pasta dish can do.

Linguini Carbonara (adapted from Anne Burrell, foodnetwork.com)

  • 12 oz fresh pasta, spaghetti or linguini
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pancetta, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 eggs, 2 whole 2 yolks
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano, or 1/2 pecorino 1/2 parmesan, plus more for topping
  • tons of freshly grated pepper
  • salt
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

Set a large pot of water to boil.  Once boiling, heavily salt the water and cook pasta to package instructions.  Add olive oil to a large skillet and set over medium heat.  Add pancetta and cook until the pieces are browned.  Set the pan aside to let it cool down just a bit.  In a large bowl add the eggs, yolks, cheese, salt and pepper, and whisk until well incorporated.  Once pasta is done, drain but not too well, some of the pasta water will thicken the sauce.  Set the pan of pancetta to medium-low heat, add pasta and stir until warm (not hot, if the pasta is too hot when you add the egg mixture you’ll get scrambled eggs).  Add the egg mixture and stir vigorously and continuously for about two minutes, until the sauce is thick.  Plate and top with more pecorino and green onions.

Serves 2-3