Recipes are constantly changing. Old and young chefs are trying all sorts of innovation to improve the taste of a dish or simply to put there signature on the dish. This once Italian peasant food is now glorified and served in restaurants here and abroad. The Italians states that true pasta carbonara uses guanciale,and not bacon or pancetta, either however make fine substitute. Also the cardinal rule is-no cream and or peas should be added.
My dish however simple, includes ramps ( allium tricoccum). They are wild onions that grow during spring in Eastern Canada and the eastern seaboard of the U.S and harvesting is about the same time as fiddleheads. The addition of ramps brings this pasta dish up a notch. By the way if you decide to use guanciale, try the italian deli’s or salumeria. If you live in Los angeles, there is one in Valley blvd in San Gabriel. Or better yet try online. With reference to ramps, you can buy it in the farmers markets, upscale supermarket or green grocers, like Gelson’s, whole Food or Bristol Farms in Los Angeles . Be prepared to pay the stiff prices. I have a friend who forage this greens during spring in the mountains of Ventura, in Los Angeles. He said his harvest is dwindling probably due to weather changes and poor harvesting practice.
Serve the dish with bruschetta and wine of your choice.
1 lb dry pasta, cook according to package instruction. Add 1tbsp of sea salt to boiling water.
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 thick slice of bacon,finely diced
1/2 C chopped ramps,fry in oil until crisp but not burnt
4 garlic cloves,minced
2 large fresh egg, raw
1 Cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
2 tbsp fresh ground pepper
4-6 sprigs of italian parsley
1.Cook pasta according to package instruction (al dente). Drain. Save 1 cup of the boiling water. Keep hot.
2. In a skillet, pan fry the bacon until fat is rendered . Remove bacon from oil and drain in paper towel.
3.Strain bacon fat.Fry the ramps in bacon fat until crisp. Remove from oil,set aside.
4. Heat remaining bacon fat in medium heat, add 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add shallots and garlic to the bacon fat and saute in medium heat.
5. Add the cooked noodles to the sauteed shallots in the skillet and toss to coat noodles with the saute mix. Remove from heat.Set aside.
6. Immediately beat the eggs, add the grated parmesan and black pepper. whisk.
7. Pour the egg and cheese mixture into the hot noodles and toss. The hot noodles will cook the eggs.
8. Add the bacon and fried ramps and toss.
9. If the dish is too heavy to toss add 1/4 cup or more of the hot pasta water to loosen .Toss.
10.Garnish your dish with a sprig of italian parsley.
Serves 4-6 generous serving