May 15, 2011

thanks, mom

(Note to you, solitary reader: I have four or so posts in queue right now.  But I'm a mom of three and have a full time job, and blogging has to fall somewhere between laundry and sleep, so forgive me for being so slow to update.  More coming!)

My love of cooking comes from my mom. Period. Others have influenced and inspired me, but mom showed me that food is so much more than food.  In our family, we plan events and vacations around food. We give gifts of food. We comfort and nourish body and soul with food.  It's important.

So Mothers Day has traditionally been a laidback, fun day where we do what we love most: shopping for, cooking and eating delicious food.  I spent this year with my amazing mom, sister, nieces and my kiddos.  In fact, we had so much fun I forgot to take pictures until the dessert course.  (bad blogger)

We made a twist on carbonara, and let me tell you, it was really special and so simple.  Pasta is something I could never, ever live without.  That, too, came from mom.  We ate it at least once a week growing up.  For Mothers Day, I wanted to show mom a dish that she's never made.  Enter carbonara.  It's deceivingly rich and creamy, soul satisfying, and with these little twists, a really beautiful dish.

Carbonara with Parsley and Tomatoes (Adapted from Rachael Ray's recipe.)
serves 4-6
1 large, ripe heirloom tomato or 4 plum or Roma tomatoes, chopped 
1 pound spaghetti, linguini or other long pasta
2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 strips thick cut, good quality bacon
5 to 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
crushed red pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine
A generous handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
4 large, organic egg yolks, lightly beaten
Lots of freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt boiling water and cook pasta to al dente. Reserve a cup of starchy water for tempering the egg yolks.

Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium to medium-high heat with oil. Add bacon and cook until almost crisp. Add garlic and red pepper, stir a couple of minutes, then add wine and reduce by half. Add parsley and tomatoes, and reduce heat to low.

When pasta is about ready, add about 1/2 cup starchy water to the eggs while beating them with a fork to temper them. Turn off heat, then toss the pasta and eggs vigorously a full minute, using more starchy water if needed until a creamy texture is achieved.  Toss in bacon/tomatoe mixture until blended, and s
erve immediately with Pecorino at the table for passing.

I really wish I had snapped a picture of this before we gobbled it up.  We enjoyed it with a simple, green salad and crusty bread.  I call this an organic process success. Make it for your mom sometime.

I took a (horrible) photo of the dessert course: homemade pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream.  In Tennessee, local strawberries are perfect (heavenly, amazing, life-changing) in May.  These were no exception.  The pound cake recipe was something I tried for the first time, and it was just ok, so I'll advise you to stick with your favorite recipe (or call your favorite bakery).  This, for me, was a reminder to use what's local and in season, prepare it simply, and let it shine.  Here's a pic (with mom in the background):

1 comment:

  1. That would be pretty good without the bacon! :)