Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Weekend Indulgences: Linguini Fini alla Carbonara
Sometimes one ingredient is all it takes. Your tongue tingles. Your toes curl. The foodie within swoons (and forever swears off winter tomatoes). And so it was with the locally produced Guanciale that we found at the market a few weekends ago.
Salumi -- that delectable Seattle icon that served to set the bar pretty darned high for Italian charcuterie.
Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Milwaukee has its very own dry cured charcuterie producer. Bolzano Meats, located at 3950 N. Holton St., began their first batch of cured meats in September of 2009 -- and the first of their meat was ready for public consumption beginning in late October. Bolzano carries Speck Proscuitto, Berkshire Pancetta, and Berkshire Guanciale. And, while they don't have a storefront, they do sell their wares online as well as at the Milwaukee Winter Market -- which is where we tasted our first bits of Guanciale. And, of course, we had to buy some to take home with us.
Of course, by now you're probably getting hungry. And I'm just sitting here yammering on. So, let's get to the point, shall we?
We were basking in the glow of a long weekend -- so, although carbonara is a relatively fast dish to get on the table, we took the long way around. The first thing we did was to whip up some homemade pasta. You might remember that we have a handy KitchenAid pasta roller/cutter, so the actual work of making pasta is really negligible. It just takes a bit of time. So, we whipped up a batch of dough, rolled it paper thin, and sliced it into gorgeously petite linguini fini. Not exactly spaghetti -- which would be traditional -- but very fun to say. Since we also seem prone to rule-breaking (as you'll soon see), we let this one small technicality slide. We put a pot of water on to boil.
At this point, we were ready for the action to begin. We placed the pasta into the pot of boiling water, seasoned our eggs with plenty of black pepper, and stirred in a liberal handful of parmesan cheese. When the pasta was ready, we drained it (reserving some of the pasta water), and added it to the hot pan of Guanciale, which was now swimming in a delicious pond of wine soaked browned bits. We tossed the pasta, removed it from the heat, and added the eggs and a scoop of the hot pasta water, stirring gently yet thoroughly until everything was deliciously creamy.
The planets realigned.
I opened my eyes. Peef was standing next to me, mid-bite, with his eyes closed. I could hear a vaguely rough groan emanating from his lips. When his eyes opened again, a grin spread across his face -- the sort of grin that only something truly fabulous could evoke.
We both took another bite. And then another. We grinned, and chewed, and swallowed. And, all at once, our bowls were empty. Mission accomplished.
Fresh semolina pasta dough
Pasta alla Carbonara: The Real Deal
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