Here is one of the last things I cooked before deciding to ban red meat from my diet. Being a pesatarian was supposed to be a form of penance and thanksgiving. My original plan was to try it during the Christmas season. I thought it will take much will power to stop stuffing myself with the holiday ham. But no, the transition was easy. And Ate Rache, who introduced me to the idea, is right. I feel lighter and calmer. According to her, when pigs and cows are being killed or start sensing that they are next, they release stress toxins or something that are passed on to us when we eat their meat. Franco laughed at me when I shared this to him but I think there is some truth to it. It has been a month since I started this new diet and I have no plans of going back to my old meaty days for now.
Anyhoot, here is a creamy but cream-less recipe of carbonara.
About 8 slices of chopped bacon (I asked Ate Doring to buy the smallest and cheapest pack. She got me one from Pampanga’s Best)
1/2 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup of cheddar cheese, grated
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper to taste
Spaghetti (I used .40 kg pasta from Del Monte)
Over high heat, bring bacon and water to simmer in a medium sized nonstick pan. Reduce the flame, once the water has evaporated and the bacon fat is already sizzling. Continue to cook until the bacon browns. Add the garlic. Stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Remove from heat. Measure 1 tablespoon fat from the bacon-garlic mixture.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cheese, freshly cracked pepper and the fat. Set aside.
Now, in a large pot, heat just enough water to cover the pasta. We need to have very starchy water for the sauce. Once the water is boiling, add the noodles, stir from time to time and cook until al dente. Drain the spaghetti, reserving one cup of the cooking water.
Slowly add and whisk 1/2 cup of the hot water to your cheese-egg mixture. Pour your cheese mixture to the spaghetti and toss to coat. Mix in your bacon and garlic. Let your carbonara sit for 2-4 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. If the sauce gets to thick, add the reserved pasta water to adjust the consistency.
* Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated April 2013 issue.