The movie adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love is one of my sentimental favorites. But it took me a while to complete the entire movie. I cannot go past the Eat part without craving for a hefty serving of pasta!
Let me ask you, when you watch Julia Roberts working on her plate of spaghetti, can you blame me?
And each and every re-run of this movie I bump into, I search the Net for the next best thing to transport me to Rome and relive that same experience. In one of my searches, I found this:
As I read it, it seems that the film’s resident food stylist crafted a recipe to recreate that special moment. It is a very simple recipe, but quite tricky if you ask me. I could not seem to perfect it.
First, it is so much different from the carbonara that I was accustomed to. I did not find out till late that carbonara is not cooked with cream! It is just egg and parmegiano reggiano or pecorino and the fat rendered from the bacon or pancetta.
The trickiest part is serving it from the pan and hoping guests will eat it straight away! Because the sauce dries out so quickly, no matter how much pasta water you stir into it. Any situation is less than ideal.
So what to do?
To give my craving due justice, I had to grab a box of cooking cream from the grocery chiller. But for the record, I am not making carbonara, OKAY? Just making that clear. Out of deep respect, I will not make carbonara with cream. I feel like it is blasphemy to pasta gods.
Coming to terms with this acceptance, I chanced upon this Nigella recipe. Eureka, it felt like striking oil!
- 200g (7oz)dry spaghetti
- salt, to taste
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp light cream
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan
- a few drops of white truffle oil
- freshly ground white pepper
- 3 rind-free rashers of bacon, diced
- a little extra grated parmesan to serve
- Cook the pasta to almost al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a fry pan and cook the bacon.
- Mix the cream, cheese, egg and pepper together.
- Turn off the heat on the bacon and add the cooked spaghetti along with about ½ of a cup of the cooking water to the bacon. Stir it around then add the cream mixture and stir it until the pasta is coated.
- Add a little salt or extra parmesan to taste.
- Serve piping hot.
I was inspired by the recipe, but I didn’t follow it to the letter. I sauteed white onions first, and then threw in the bacon, until almost crispy. I dished out the bacon from the pan, and splashed some chicken stock to deglaze the pan. That’s when I mixed in the cream. But instead of white truffle oil, I mixed in a few tablespoons of salsa tartufata, a relish of black summer truffle, mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, and aromatics. The egg, cheese, and pepper mixture goes last. Don’t forget to get the spaghetti off the heat! Keeping it on the flame will scramble the egg mixture!
Don’t worry though, the residual heat on the pan will cook this dish perfectly. Garnish with basil or parsley, either one works.
I’ve tried this recipe many times. This is a no-fail, surefire hit, kiddies and adults alike!