Brunch Carbonara

Printemps 2012
food and drink

BY: Eshun Mott

This recipe slightly deconstructs the classic pasta dish by pulling out some of the pancetta and eggs as a fun way to highlight its appropriateness for brunch. There are a number of steps to this dish, but you can fry the pancetta and garlic, combine the cheese, eggs and parsley, and poach the eggs all ahead of time, keeping everything in readiness for a simple toss together at the last minute when you’re ready to serve your guests.

5 oz (150 g) very thinly sliced pancetta
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) finely chopped garlic
6 large eggs
1 cup (250 mL) finely grated Parmesan
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped Italian parsley
1 tbsp (15 mL) white vinegar
12 oz (375 g) spaghetti
Freshly ground black pepper

1 Set 8 slices of pancetta aside, stack the rest into a pile, and cut into ribbons about ¼ inch (5 mm) wide. Reserve.

2 Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add rounds of pancetta in a single layer and fry, turning as needed, for 3 minutes or until browned and crisp. Remove to a plate. Working in batches, sprinkle ribbons of pancetta into skillet and fry for 3 minutes or until they are browned and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove pancetta from skillet and reserve.

3 Discard all but 2 tbsp (30 mL) of fat from skillet. Return skillet to stove over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute or until softened but not golden. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

4 Lightly beat 2 eggs in a bowl, and stir in Parmesan and parsley. Set aside.

5 Fill a wide pot or deep sauté pan with water, add vinegar, and bring to a boil over high heat. Crack each of the 4 remaining eggs into a small ramekin. Fill a large bowl with cool water. Turn heat to low, use a spoon to stir water in a circle and slip eggs, 1 at a time, into the middle of the vortex. Let eggs poach for 3 to 4 minutes or until white is set but yolk is liquid. Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggs to bowl of water to stop them from cooking further. Keep pot of egg cooking water on stove over medium-low heat.

6 Cook spaghetti in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente according to package directions. Drain, reserving about ¼ cup (60 mL) pasta cooking water.

7 Return skillet with garlic to stove over low heat. Add spaghetti and toss to coat. Pour in egg and cheese mixture and, working rapidly, toss to combine with hot noodles so that the mixture coats pasta, adding a little reserved pasta cooking water to loosen sauce if necessary. Sprinkle in crisp ribbons of pancetta and season with lots of black pepper. Divide pasta between 4 serving bowls, top each with 2 rounds of pancetta. Use a slotted spoon to dip each of the chilled poached eggs into hot egg-cooking water to reheat, and then place on top of pancetta.

Serves 4

What to Serve