Radish Top & Fava Rigatoni Carbonara

Printemps 2017
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food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

Romans can be fiercely traditional when it comes to pasta: please don’t tell any of them I’ve gone and added peppery radish greens and fava beans to a plateful of seriously delicious carbonara. If you can find Il Tagliere Salumeria’s excellent guanciale, made in Caledon, Ont., by all means grab a piece— otherwise, pancetta is a fine substitute. Making pasta with thickened egg sauces can be very tricky in large portions—I learned this the hard way (with a $300 white truffle!) so that you don’t have to.

3 cups (750 mL) fava beans, removed from their pods (see TIP)
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 oz (60 g) thinly sliced guanciale or pancetta, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 cups (500 mL) radish tops, cleaned and dried
8 oz (250 g) rigatoni or bucatini
1 whole egg, plus 3 egg yolks
1 tsp (5 mL) coarsely ground black pepper
½ cup (125 mL) finely grated Pecorino Romano
¼ cup (60 mL) finely grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnishing
Salt to taste

1. Prepare an ice bath; cook fava beans in a pot of boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to ice water to cool. Working with 1 at a time, tear and remove rubbery outer skin and discard; reserve beans.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add guanciale and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until just beginning to crisp around edges. Stir in garlic, cook another 30 seconds, then add fava beans and radish tops. Continue to stir and cook 1 additional minute; remove from heat, cover and keep warm while cooking the pasta.

3. Prepare pasta according to package directions; meanwhile, combine whole egg and 1 egg yolk in a large heatproof bowl. Whisk in pepper. When only a couple of minutes cooking time remain for the pasta, remove ¼ cup (60 mL) of cooking water and whisk into egg mixture.

4. Return skillet containing guanciale mixture to high heat; drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss to evaporate any remaining water and coat all in rendered fat. Turn out into bowl containing egg mixture, sprinkle cheeses over, and toss until sauce is thickened and cheese has melted, about 1 minute. As you’re tossing, check for seasoning and adjust as needed (pasta may not require additional salt).

5. Pile pasta between 2 dinner plates or 2 shallow bowls, top each with an egg yolk and a grating of extra Parmesan to taste.

Serves 2

TIP Fresh fava beans (a.k.a. broad beans) require peeling twice: first the outer pod comes off, then each bean’s individual skin. To remove the fuzzy pod, break the tip and pull down and away, as you would a zipper, to open the pod and reveal the beans, then remove from pod, cook and peel as instructed in step 1 of the recipe.

What to Serve