October 08, 2011

A Carbonara (a partial mis en place)

A Carbonara (a partial mis en place)


I'm losing light, I thought.

And so I forgot to picture the pepper mill, the bacon (so carefully rendered just moments before) and the white wine.

Perhaps if I had made a list—but there was no time for a list.

This would be a Carbonara (of sorts). Lots of garlic (one fat heirloom clove finely chopped). Shallot (again, finely chopped). Two little red devils (not their actual name) from the garden (the kind of peppers that have heat like no other). The kind of heat you don't really need when a good hammering of black pepper is all that is required. Parsley (because).

And then there's the norm. The pork (we use local bacon). The egg (two extra large, brown—also local). The cheese (Parmesan).

Linquine. De Cecco. We're running dangerously low on long pasta.


Do It Yourself


I marveled at the mis en place. The precision in which everything was brought together. My confidence was just right. I had watched and assisted enough.

"Do you want me to get this going?" I asked.

But it was already going. The flame was low. The garlic, shallot and red devils were softening. The pasta was boiling. A dash of salt. White wine. A few ladles of pasta water. A shake. A stir.

My pulse was normal, not racing.

I tasted. Spicy. There wasn't much room for black pepper, but there would have to be. Regardless of the heat.

When the time came for the eggs, he assisted. Dumping them into the pan (my old job) and retreating to the sink. I moved the pasta around quickly. The eggs were surrendering nicely. No scrambled eggs! This looks good. Holy $#!%.

I moved the pan to the other side of the stove, closer to the pasta bowls.

"I almost forgot the bacon." I said. I grabbed the ramekin and dumped the bacon into the pan.

"Ready Freddy?" I asked.

"I'm ready." He said.

Once the pasta was nestled I gave each bowl a few turns of black pepper and a sprinkling of parsley.


I held my breath as we both dove in.


  1. oh i love your recipe!
    i must make it for lunch, but it's pouring rain and i am not sure i want to go out.

  2. This post made me smile from beginning to end. It also made me very hungry. It also (also?) made me realize that I have yet to master making carbonara sauce. Some great tips to apply during my next attempt.


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