Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A little less bacon fat, please.

This is a day old meal, leftovers, if you will, but I still wanted to write about it since I'm always excited when a new kitchen gadget works just as it's supposed to. So...I admit it. I loooove spaghetti carbonara. All of it. All the simple carbohydrate-bacon fat-cheesy goodness. But in an effort to not "let myself go" as I was led to believe I could do after I got married, I was looking for a healthier version than the one I found in Joy of Cooking. While Joy of Cooking is my go-to book for the jumping off point for anything new in the kitchen, a lot of times I look elsewhere to tweak the recipe initially found here. (Note: this tweaking is not applicable for the beef chili and tagine chicken with chickpeas recipes in Joy of Cooking. They are perfect.) When looking for a healthier version of a classic, I'm usually hesitant to follow the "alternative" recipe exactly, as though it may be a great recipe in and of itself, most often, it fails to duplicate the original recipe in taste (Insert fettuccini alfredo here. Its amazing creamy, cheesy, carbohydrate deliciousness, but there's no duplicate without using heavy cream). Lets face it. The reason I love carbonara is because it has bacon fat. Lots of bacon fat. So I found a recipe that looked good. I was a little bitter that it claimed to be carbonara by name while it didn't call for all the fat rendered from 6 slices of bacon, and it did call for peas (blech. Thank you Ma, for never making me eat peas.), but decided to give it a shot anyway. Besides, it's actually called fettuccini carbonara with poached eggs. No better time than now to test out my new Poach Pods!!

It figures, the 2 things I needed to pick up to prepare this recipe were the well, fettuccini and bacon. In this picture is everything I needed to make this dish.
That's it! Not only did I get to test out my Poach Pods, I also got to get a good seasoning session in on my medium bar pan. I've never made bacon in an easier way that was so perfectly crumbly. I think I'll only cook bacon in the oven from now on.

I made the bacon and cooked the pasta first so I could keep an eye on the eggs as they were poaching. When I've tried to poach eggs the traditional way, its resulted in scrambled eggs cooked in simmering vinegar-water. So I was pretty stoked to try these. So was Buster:
I re-read the directions at the prompting of Hubby when I mentioned whined that the eggs were taking a long time to cook.

Once I popped the lid on, they cooked to perfection! (Note: I did spritz a teeny bit of olive oil in the Pods before dropping the egg in)

Once I put the 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings (of about 6 or so that collected in the baking stone), the pasta, crumbled bacon, fresh Parmesan cheese, 2 cups of the pasta cooking water, and some parsley together, I could put my perfectly cooked egg on top and enjoy this more protein-carb-fat balanced version of one of my favorite dishes without the guilt that ensues when I see the hardened bacon fat coating the strands of spaghetti when I go to heat up leftovers for lunch.

(disclaimer: This was NOT my portion. I kinda forgot to take a picture of the final product (I was too eager to dig in!) so I put the leftovers on a plate and took one after the fact. I apologize for the lack of presentation. Padma and Tom would not be happy)

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