|Ham Solo in Carbonara (Han Solo in Carbonite) AKA Spaghetti alla Carbonara|
This is one dish that seems most Italians and Americans both enjoy in its closer to authentic version. Some enjoy adding garlic or onions to it, but for my first post regarding it, I will stick to something most purists will accept. Now being in America, I will make a few suggestions for items one is more likely to find in our grocery store. And by all means, if you want garlic or onions, go for it. My kids like it much better with garlic and extra sauce.
I live remote in the mountains. My closest store does not carry guanciale (nor does any grocery store locally). In fact, the pancetta it does carry is so thinly sliced, that it does not work well for cooking at all, it is meant for sandwiches or antipasto. If one tries to cook with it, it burns the within a minute of hitting the pan.
In Carbonara, to render the fat needed for the sauce, I must use local bacon. On the upside, we have many homesteaders and ranchers up here who raise lovely meat that I have no fears of consuming. So I do use a very beautiful, organic bacon, but you can use whatever you can locate or afford and it will still taste delizioso.
Of course working hand in hand with The Star Wars Mom website, today’s version of Carbonara is affectionately titled, “Ham Solo in Carbonara.” You can find the free printable party food label on the Star Wars Mom website. I hope you enjoy this meal. Since spaghetti pasta is considered “romantic” food thanks to Disney’s Lady and The Tramp, this is one of our Valentine themed posts.
I would like to give a shout out of BIG THANKS to my daughter, Bethany, who has been helping me with decor and setting up/tearing down for photo shoots. She has truly been a blessing at getting this rolling. She loves decorating, so she set up the table for the Valentine’s Photo Shoots and I think she did an amazing job! While you can’t see a lot of it on here, you can in the Star Wars Mom post on this topic.
Ham Solo in Carbonara Recipe
3 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks, room temp
3 ounces (about 1/3 packed cup) grated pecorino Romano
3 ounces (about 1/3 packed cup) grated Parmesan
Fresh coarsely ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces of slab guanciale, pancetta, or bacon, sliced into pieces about 1/4 – 1/2 inch square, (depending on the meat you choose)
16 ounces spaghetti (1 box, do not use thin spaghetti for Carbonara)
1-2 cups of reserved pasta water after cooking spaghetti
Parsley, freshly minced for topping
Lightly salt the pot of water for cooking spaghetti pasta. While I normally salt the water like the ocean for cooking pasta, this is an exception, since we are going to use some of the reserved pasta water for our sauce and we want to control how salty this becomes. Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, cheeses, couple of pinches of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add whichever meat you are using and lightly fry until the fat is rendered and it begins to get crisp, but do not overcook. Leave meat in oil, and remove pan from heat.
Cook spaghetti in pot of water until al dente, be very careful not to cook any further, better less than more, as the spaghetti is going to soak up some of the sauce. Be careful to reserve a couple of cups of the pasta water before draining spaghetti.
Before draining spaghetti, reheat the pork in the skillet. Make sure to remove skillet from heat when it’s hot. Add the hot spaghetti pasta to the skillet and toss well for a minute. Then pour on some of the reserved pasta water, top with the egg/cheese mixture and stir quickly with two spoons if needed. You must work quickly to cook the eggs/cheese/water/fat into a sauce with the heat of the spaghetti and not end up with scrambled eggs. It should form a lovely, creamy sauce.
Serve immediately in pasta bowls. Top with parsley, freshly grated romano or parmesan, and black pepper.