If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara


When I lived in Rome as a student, I ate this rich cream-sauced dish at least once a week.   It was my introduction to pancetta and a Roman specialty that, at the time, was rarely found on this side of the water.  A wonderful little restaurant called Grappolo d’oro, which was very near the Campo dei Fiori, featured it in on its menu and, much to my amazement it’s still there (
http://www.grappolodorozampano.it/), and Carbonara is still on the menu.  But all that cream and butter, pancetta and cheese put Carbonara on the endangered list once we reached a certain…size.  But the memory lingered on and a recipe for a very much lighter version caught my eye and I cooked it. I’m posting it today on the off chance you may have some Easter Ham sitting around that you can easily substitute, cubed, for the pancetta or slab bacon. And I think it’s well worth sharing with you because it’s very quick and delicious and you can probably get dinner on the table in about 30 minutes.

The recipe came from More magazine.  What, you may ask, are Andrew and I doing with a subscription to a magazine targeted as being “smart talk for smart women” ?  Well I am sure you must have noticed that as one magazine after another goes belly up, your subscription is suddenly attached to another publication until it runs its course.  In our case, that’s how More came our way.  I am not sure if More replaced House and Garden or its replacement, Domino and I generally round-filed it soon after it arrived.  Then my Food Writing Boot Camp instructor, Laurie Buckle, herself the Editor of Fine Cooking, praised the magazine’s food content and ever since I’ve taken to going straight to those pages.   I did alter their recipe. I think when you really cut down on fat, you have to boost flavor which I did by adding a little white wine and some alleppo red pepper flakes. I am sure the familiar red pepper flakes are good alternative to the latter but if you can find them, try alleppo for a change of pace.  They seem to have more body and ‘fruit’ to them.  I served this with a couple of pieces of toasted peasant bread and a green salad.  Here’s the recipe:
 
* You can substitute Red Pepper flakes but I urge you to try these ‘fruity’ pepper flakes that have more kick; you can buy them on-line at www.kalustyan.com  or if you live in New York, you can visit the store at 
123 Lexington Avenue (29th St.) (212) 685-3451.



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