10/09/2013

Carborama!

Carborama!
Carborama! Yes, Carbonara, but not the usual ancestral style seeking a low-carb version – this is the carb version and a direct replacement, if you like, to regular wheat pasta Carbonara.

Paleo is becoming less carb-phobic and a real eye-opener can be had by reading the Jaminet's book 'The Perfect Health Diet'. On active days, energy from carbohydrate is perfectly acceptable.

Excited by finding some good rice noodles in my local supermarket, I had a play with them a few days ago and at the time, we both remarked that it would be fun to try them as a Carbonara.

So, here it is ...

Carbonara is an Italian pasta-based dish with an egg and cheese sauce. The cheese is usually parmesan or pecorino, both hard and give a salty taste to the dish.  The filler often comes in the form of pancetta, lardons, bacon and sometimes veggies. The meat and veggies are cooked in a heavy-based pan while the pasta is boiled alongside. The pasta, once cooked, is added to the meat and veggies, heat switched off and the egg sauce poured over to be cooked through in the residual heat.

The prep is minimal and the cooking time, for this, much shorter than when using wheat pasta. Five minutes of prep and five to cook should be about right. Quick and easy!

Debate

Even with the conventional version, there is some debate around the sauce as to whether whole eggs should be used or just the yolks. Even recipes where all the egg is used, a further yolk is often added for that gorgeous creaminess which brings us to the second debate which is around the inclusion of cream. To cream or not to cream; that is the question ...

Fatty dairy is perfectly acceptable to a Paleo+er and a Perfect Health Dieter, as is cheese. Let’s make the luxury version.

Carbonara Sauce

Grated manchego, a Spanish sheep cheese not dissimilar to pecorino, a couple of eggs, whole and no further yolk since our eggs do have large yolks, and finally, a good splash of double cream, a slightly fattier cream compared to heavy cream which folks from the US might be more used to.

So, that’s your sauce:  cheese, eggs and cream.

How much? Well, I don't weigh or measure, but once stirred together there was probably about half a pint of the raw sauce. Weights and measures really are not essential; grate what you think is a sufficient amount of cheese on a fine grater and then crack in an egg, stir, crack in another until you've got a slurry. Splash of cream if you like and that's your sauce.

Meat & Veg

Your filler can be anything, even seafood - prawns work well. I went with bacon, mushrooms and asparagus for me. In a heavy-based pan just fry off the bacon, add in a little lard, fry off the mushrooms and last, add in the asparagus to warm through. Lower the heat to keep warm.

Tagliatelle

Meanwhile, cook the noodles. Mine need three minutes in boiling water and should then be drained. I simply switched the heat under my pan with the meat and veggies off and lifted the noodles straight out of the water and into the skillet. The small amount of water that the noodles bring is no big deal.

Combine

Pour the sauce in and fold through thoroughly until the cheese has melted and the eggs cooked through in the residual heat. That is important, since direct heat will scramble the eggs. Still edible, but not especially palatable.

Serve

Serve the dish out immediately from the pan and get stuck in!

Resources


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As an interesting observation, I ate this a good couple of hours prior to an evening of sports fencing after which I noted that I had not drunk as much water as I usually do and did not suffer that transient lag that I usually do after about an hour of activity.

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