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Amazing Spaghetti Carbonara!

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Spike, Oct 26, 2021.

  1. PaulMB

    PaulMB pfm Member

    Thanks, BTC3, very interesting and instructive, although perhaps a part of this history is speculative, given that hardly anybody could read or write. Your reference to someone chasing "the original" hits the nail on the head, since as you explain there is no such thing. I've noticed that Italians are not that bothered about things being "original" or "the real recipe," it is more an obsession among foreigners. In the aftermath of the Amatrice area earthquake, an American friend visited the area to write a "reconstruction and gastronomy" story for the NYT. He ate, I think it was 6 "amatricianas" in 4 days in 6 different places, and said that while guanciale was the preferred ingredient in some restaurants, it was pancetta in others. And that every person he spoke to had his/her formula for making "amatriciana."
     
    BTC3 likes this.
  2. BTC3

    BTC3 pfm Member

    If you want to delve into it, Marco Guarnaschelli Gotti has a good section about Carbonara in his “Grande enciclopedia illustrata della gastronomia”. I don’t have a digital copy, but there is a decent précis here. Bonus fun fact:
    La pasta più falsificata d’Italia
    Da queste origini giovani e affrettate nascerebbe la gran quantità di varianti di oggi. Tanto che l’Accademia della cucina italiana definisce la carbonara la pasta più “falsificata” d’Italia nei ristoranti, con ingredienti scorretti e discutibili a cominciare da quella maledetta panna, per finire all’utilizzo del prosciutto crudo al posto di guanciale o pancetta. Tutto questo nonostante la stessa Accademia individui una ricetta “originale” della carbonara piuttosto libera e nient’affatto integralista: spaghetti, guanciale (o pancetta, dolce o affumicata), aglio, uova, parmigiano, pecorino, olio extravergine d’oliva, sale e pepe. Ma qual è, secondo voi, la carbonara giusta? E poi attingete dairicordi di genitori, nonni, amici e parenti: la carbonara si mangiava prima della guerra? Ogni testimonianza è buona per risolvere l’enigma.
     
  3. Spike

    Spike pfm Member

    “I've noticed that Italians are not that bothered about things being "original" or "the real recipe," it is more an obsession among foreigners”
    not in my experience, although probably limited compared to yours. I have quite a large amount of anecdotal evidence. Even today when out for lunch at a friends Italian restaurant. He was adamant that his food, Scicilian, was the correct way to cook it. He was even laughing that he argues with both his father and brother about what is right and wrong.
     
  4. PaulMB

    PaulMB pfm Member

    Thanks for that. Agree about the "panna" (cream). I remember a terrible period, late '70s - early '80s, when restaurants (and individuals) started putting "panna" on just about everything, starting with "penne alla vodka" as a late-night snack. Haven't heard of Gotti's "Grande Enciclopedia", or rather my wife hasn't. But we did check in her Artusi and as you said there is no trace of carbonara.
     
  5. PaulMB

    PaulMB pfm Member

    Yes, but Sicilians usually claim they know everything. Besides, as you say they were arguing and laughing about what is right and wrong, so not really dogmatic.
     
    PsB likes this.
  6. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    This is how I've always done it, but I haven't had it in years. Minus the Guanciale as I'm not posh enough for that, so whatever bacon I had is usually what went in. Very simple and quick.

    I showed it my old man but he turned his nose up as there isn't 8 cloves of garlic or a tub of cream in it :rolleyes:

     
    Spike likes this.
  7. Spike

    Spike pfm Member

    Matt you can buy pigs cheeks for next to nothing. The curing salt is pennies. Works out very cheap.
     
  8. Cesare

    Cesare pfm Member

    Well i like it with or without cream, so there! It really depends on what mood i'm in. The cream feel without cream is to do with the oil content. If you remove too much of the oil you'll end up with an unpleasant dish, obviously too much will generate a mess on your plate. And don't drain your pasta too well, or maybe a better way of saying it is to splash in some of the cooking water.

    As for garlic, I'd just stick with aglio e olio, depends if i've got any parsley I guess.
     
    Spike likes this.
  9. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Grandma Gina's YouTube channel is worth watching. Here's her carbonara

     
  10. PaulMB

    PaulMB pfm Member

    I've noticed this thread warms up in the late afternoon.......
     
  11. AndyU

    AndyU pfm Member

    My take on Italian cooking, formed by living there for the last decade, is that there are as many recipes for a dish as there are mothers and grandmothers, and cookery books, and even what you think of as standard things change a lot as you go about the country. Butter for example is used a lot in the north, but much less in the south. One of the few laid down recipes there are is an “official” recipe for bolognese sauce (which is never eaten with spaghetti, at least in Bologna). This got deposited with the Italian food Academy by the Bolognese Chamber of Commerce in 1982. 300g beef, 150g pancetta, 50g carrot, 50g celery, 30g onion, 300g passata, 100ml white wine, 100ml milk, olive oil or butter, maybe some stock, and 100ml of single cream if you like. Yep, milk and cream. For unctuousness. It’s official.

    https://www.aifb.it/calendario-del-cibo/giornata-nazionale-del-ragu-alla-bolognese/
     
  12. PsB

    PsB Citizen of Nowhere™

    I'd be very interested to try this. Have you ever tried without the nitrates in the curing salt mix? If Parma ham can cure for months without nitrates, maybe a few weeks in a fridge or shed should be possible?
    Also: how long does the 30% weight loss take, and do you have an estimate of the temperature in your shed?
     
  13. PsB

    PsB Citizen of Nowhere™

    And even here, many Italian cooks will swear there should not be any pancetta in a Bolognese, others that the meat should be a mixture of minced pork and beef neck (2 parts beef to 1 part pork), others say pork and veal (various proportions). So the official recipe is just one committee´s opinion.
     
    AndyU likes this.
  14. PaulMB

    PaulMB pfm Member

    Also they never call it "Bolognese", except on signs in the street in tourist traps, but "Ragu'," which may be connected to the French "Ragout" (I think..). And every cook makes it in a different way, beef, veal, with or without bits of pork, with or without garlic, with or without tomatoes.
     
    PsB likes this.
  15. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    actually on the backstreets of Bologna they do. I spent some time working with the Uni there back in the 1990s. And Bologna ain't a tourist town.
     
  16. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    I guess, I've neither the time nor inclination to bother if I'm honest. Looks like it just renders down to a pan full of fat anyway!
     
  17. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    I've just cooked up a lovely ragu with 2 parts beef shin, and one part port shoulder. 5 hours lovely
     
    Spike and AndyU like this.
  18. AndyU

    AndyU pfm Member

    Ragù is a completely different kettle of fish. It is a generic meat sauce. Any kind of meat (beef, pork, boar, venison, plus maybe pancetta), cooked to almost a pulp with often but not always tomatoes and the usual celery/onion/carrot base. The “Dear Francesca” cookery book I mentioned earlier has a splendid recipe involving really slow cooked beef on the bone which she said was a traditional cucina povera family meal. You eat the best bits of meat on top of pasta on Sunday, what fell off into the sauce on Monday, stretch the leftovers to Tuesday, by Wednesday it’s just rich tomato sauce, maybe add some beans or make soup for the rest of the week. And probably other types of pasta than spaghetti - pasta with holes in it hold a rich sauce better. Or polenta would be used instead of pasta in many parts of Italy.
     
    Spike likes this.
  19. Spike

    Spike pfm Member

    I’ve not tried curing without nitrates or nitrites. I decided that they are in such tiny amounts that I’ll take the risk. I also wash after curing to remove any remaining.
    It took about e for the cheeks to lose 30% in my shed. This is Northumberland so the temperature ranged from about 4 to 16 C. And the humidity was about 65%.
     
  20. PaulMB

    PaulMB pfm Member

    Really!? I've never heard an Italian mention "pasta bolognese", except when making fun of foreigners. But I take your word for it.
     

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