Saturday, December 11, 2010

I am NOT a Chef

I am not a chef. I am not a food blogger. I am not a good photographer and I have a cheap camera. But there are some dishes that are so good that you have to push through those deterrents to share the goodness with the world.

This is one of those times.


Pancetta Breakfast Spaghetti

I'll let you think about that for a minute before beginning.

Ruminate on it.

Are you beginning to salivate yet?

Here are the ingredients. A box of pasta, I like spaghetti noodles, 4 oz. or so of sliced and diced pancetta (Italian bacon), butter, fresh Parmesan cheese, 1-2 eggs per person, and sixteen pounds of salt.

1. Step one, put some water on to boil. Wait for the smoke to clear from the burning piece of chicken hiding in the electric burner plate.

What? Your burners don't smoke? Oh.

2. Pour in a ridiculous amount of salt. DO NOT USE IODIZED TABLE SALT!!!! It will ruin this dish. Seriously.

(Mom, I'm talking to you!!!)

You need to add enough salt to the cooking water that it tastes like the ocean.

Table salt sucks, by the way. Let's just get that out there. In our well-fed society where salt is added to almost every type of mass-produced food, there is enough iodine in your food that you could not get iodine deficiency unless you really, really tried.

Kosher salt is the best, I think. Get you a big box at the store for like $2, put some in one of those salt shakers pizza restaurants use for Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle it on food as you normally would.

Kosher and sea salts have no metallic taste like table salt, is better for you because you use less, and has an almost sweet/salty flavor.


Moving on....

3. Dice the pancetta into small bits and fry in a non-stick skillet so you don't have to add more fats.

(Pancetta is an Italian cured pork product that is incredibly salty and delicious. If you can't find it in your regular grocery store deli counter, you could substitute country ham or even bacon in this recipe.

No. Don't. Go to a different store and buy pancetta. Really.)

4. While the pancetta is browning, poach or fry 1-2 eggs per person, making sure the yolks stay over-medium. If you bust the yolks or cook them through, throw them away and start again.

Poaching the eggs is time consuming and difficult but is the best in this recipe.

I am lazy therefore I fry.

5. When the pasta is done, not too soft but with a bit of a bite to it, mix in a couple tablespoons of butter and the browned pancetta. Add as much or as little butter as you like. More=better.

You can also stir in some herbs like "Italian Seasoning" into the pasta. It's good and so pretty.

6. For each serving, put some of the pasta/pancetta mixture into a huge bowl. No, really. Use GIANT, ENORMOUS, gigantic bowls.

Add 1-2 of the cooked yet runny yolk eggs on top of the bed of pasta.

I would like to sleep in a bed of pasta. All warm and cozy and edible.

I digress...

7. Lastly, add a few tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese over top of the eggs and pasta. I guess the pre-packaged stuff would be OK, except maybe the pancetta might come alive and beat you up for making a mockery if this dish.

(Just buy a small block of real, fresh, and delicious Parmesan cheese. It lasts absolutely forever in your fridge and tastes like nothing you've had out of a shake can. Trust me.)

8. Absolutely last, cut through the egg to release the runny yoke all over the pacetta pasta. Moan and groan in olfactory pleasure, and then take a bite.

Yes. Yes. Oh, my, YES!

You're welcome.

And I forgive you for judging my ugly eggs and rotten photography.