Spaghetti Carbonara

Screen Shot 2021-04-07 at 1.50.26 PM

Full disclosure: this is not my favorite pasta dish, however, it is quick easy, and most people LOVE it.

You most likely have many of the ingredients for spaghetti carbonara on hand, and I believe that it can be a recipe open to interpretation. It basically involves pasta, cured pork, hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino, black pepper, and eggs. To me, it’s similar, in some ways, to the Roman pasta dish pasta cacio e uova.

Supposedly this dish first burst on the scene in 1950, which I believe, because it smacks of the 20th century. It is absent from my favorite Italian cookbook, Ada Boni’s 1930 La Cucina Romana (her regional cookbook is available on Amazon in English, the Romana is in Italian) one of the best cookbooks of all time. I don’t make it often, but it appeared on the internet recently as “Carbonara Day” on instagram which I found rather humorous. Even funnier was that I actually made it. Talk about being influenced! I am embarrassed to say I was.

So here’s my recipe, I am sure you’ll love it. It’s comforting and creamy, like bowl of mac and cheese tossed with a little crispy bacon. It actually reminds me of breakfast: bacon, eggs and cheese with spaghetti. No wonder people love it.

Spaghetti Carbonara
Serves 4

You will need:
– 1 lb.  dried Spaghetti
– 8 ounces Speck, proscuttio, or bacon. Basically, a cured pork product cut into bite size pieces
– 3 large eggs scrambled
– 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, pecorino, or any hard cheese
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

To prepare:

Set a large pot of water to boil (for pasta). In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 12 minutes; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Salt boiling water generously; add a tablespoon of salt to the water. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs and parmesan. Set aside.

Using a spider, remove pasta from the water and place it into the bowl, leaving some water clinging to it. Working quickly, add hot pasta to the egg mixture. Add bacon; season with salt and pepper, and toss all to combine (heat from pasta will cook eggs). Serve immediately, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All cookbook collection cooking Eating Rome Entertaining Fall Food fall menus Food styling italian cooking italy kitchen Recipes Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Traveling to Italy, my first week back

F4F6ADB0-A0D8-4C49-A19B-75145427DC3A

Ciao Guys! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have been back in Italy for a little over a week. Traveling to get here was quite effortless. After 2 Covid tests, one from Walgreens and one from Delta at the airport, I was on my way. Because I am an Italian resident, we own a home and live here, most of the year entry was easy. I have no idea when Italy will open to the world, but I am optimistic that come fall, it will be open, and Italy will welcome travelers, I would assume with a vaccine passport, but we shall see.

As I write this, my region of Tuscany is in orange. Italy has a system of well-outlined restrictions based on color-coded zones. Red, orange, yellow and white. Red being a strict lockdown, orange having restrictions on bars and restaurants and travel in the region and between regions, and a curfew of 10:00 pm. Yellow is less restricted and allows travel between regions, and the opening of bars and restaurants for lunch. For the official codes, read about it here in my favorite magazine The Florentine.

For me, these restrictions don’t affect me much since I live in the countryside and travel very little.

I am in the middle of editing the finished manuscript of my cookbook, La Fortezza Cookbook. Once England can travel, our British team, photographer David Loftus, and our stylist Rosie Scott, can enter the country, and we can start working on the winter chapter. I am hoping that this will be mid-March, bu obviously, I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, we are preparing the garden for the spring, and I have some cool additions to La Fortezza coming soon. The pool will commence and my friend and uber stylist Barbara will be helping me style it up. There will be the construction of the pool pergola, and lots of planting going on.

Until next time, be sure to check the La Fortezza Workshop page, and if you want to join us here, I would not wait. Once Italy opens up, it is going to be nuts!  In the meantime, I will keep posting on Instagram. We have some fun Instagram Lives coming up, so don’t forget to check in and see what’s happening!

xx

 

All behind the scenes cookbook collection Events Instagram italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Personal renovation in italy The Fortress Travel Tuscany Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Twisted Soul Cookbook

Screen Shot 2021-02-01 at 1.54.48 PM

Dare I say that Chef Deborah VanTrece is my Rizzoli soul sister?!  Well heck, I am going to say it. I am so excited for the latest Rizzoli NY cookbook from a local Atlanta chef. This cookbook is not only a visual treat, but it is also an amazing collection of recipes that infuse Deborah’s vast travel culinary experiences and her Southern soul. Her restaurant, The Twisted House Cookhouse and Pours is a landmark in the community. I was excited to meet her in person at her cookbook photo-shoot in Atlanta last January. We share the same Rizzoli NY cookbook editor, which makes us sisters for sure, right? I was invited to meet her and appear in her cookbook while enjoying a meal. Needless to say, trying a multitude of her recipes all in one sitting was a treat.

Screen Shot 2021-02-01 at 1.55.11 PM

My 5 questions for Deborah:

Screen Shot 2021-02-01 at 1.55.46 PM

Do you have a favorite recipe in the book?

There’s no particular recipe I favor more than another in this book. Each recipe has a personal meaning to me.

Tell me a bit about the inspiration for the book, and the recipe.

This book is inspired by the great soul food cooks of the past and present. It expounds on old traditions by exploring new combinations of ingredients by interchanging cultures and techniques. It is intended to uplift the idea of “comfort food” across all cultures and showcase the impact of the humblest cuisines in our souls and our hearts. 

When did cooking become a passion and then a profession? Was this your path, or was it different? 

As far back as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by food and the fellowship around it.  Being an only child, sometimes I felt so alone.  It was always celebrations, that included food and drink, that erased my feelings of loneliness and created an atmosphere of joy that I wanted to last forever.  Because of this, I developed a passion for cooking, often sharing my creations with friends and family.  I became an international flight attendant, and the exposure to other cultures only increased my hunger for learning how to create new dishes. I finally enrolled in culinary school and my professional journey in the food world began.

How have you been able to pivot your restaurant during Covid?

My pivots with Covid are an entire book within itself. I have adjusted my business model several times to keep in line with safety protocols, as well as government mandates. It hasn’t been easy, but we are still standing, and for that, I am grateful.

Who most influenced you in your cooking?

My family has been most influential in my cooking. From my mother and father to my aunts, uncles and cousins, they have all helped in constructing my culinary foundation. Good food is a part of my history and recipes handed down through generations are so important to my story. These recipes showcase the existence of my ancestors and motivate me to continue the story by adding recipes of my own.

 

Thanks so much, Deborah! xx

 

All baking behind the scenes celebration cookbook collection cooking Crushing On Entertaining my picks Personal Recipes Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , ,

Eating Healthy for 2021 Roasted Tomato and White Bean Stew

merlin_170015916_5f8dc24f-2a64-4551-8b7e-f8d7f7506d6c-articleLarge

Recipe by, Colu Henry and Photo by Christopher Simpson for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Nothing like a warm bowl of goodness. I found this dish on the New York times Food Section page. If you don’t already subscribe, it’s a great way to try lots of new recipes. When you subscribe you get a recipe box where you can save all your favorite recipes; it’s really clever.

I wanted to share it with you. It’s easy to prepare, healthy and most important it is delicious. Let me know how you like it, eating healthy is easy.

Here’s how the New York Times describes this dish:

This hearty, flexible stew comes together with pantry ingredients and delivers layers of flavors. Cherry tomatoes, roasted in a generous glug of olive oil to amplify their sweetness, lend a welcome brightness to this otherwise rich dish. Onion, garlic and red-pepper flakes form the backbone of this dish, to which white beans and broth are added, then simmered until thick. While this stew is lovely on its own, you could also add wilt-able greens such as kale, escarole or Swiss chard at the end, and toasted bread crumbs on top. The dish is vegan as written, but should you choose to top your bowl with a showering of grated Pecorino or Parmesan, it would most likely work well in your favor.

Roasted Tomato and White Bean Stew
Serves 4

You will need:

  • ½ cup roughly chopped Italian parsley leaves and tender stems
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
  • 2 (10-ounce) containers cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons and more for drizzling (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans (such as butter or cannellini), rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth, or water
  • Flaky salt, for serving (optional)
  • Toasted bread, for serving
To prepare:
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, gently toss together the parsley and lemon zest with your hands until well combined; set aside.
  2. In a large baking dish or on a sheet pan, toss the tomatoes with 1/4 cup oil and thyme; season well with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes until they have collapsed and begin to turn golden around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. When the tomatoes are almost done roasting, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large (12-inch), deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium. Add the onion, garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook until the onion is softened and the garlic is fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the rinsed beans and broth and bring to a simmer. With the back of a spoon or spatula, gently smash about ½ cup of the beans so they slightly thicken the broth. If you want a thicker stew, crush some more of the beans. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. When the tomatoes are finished roasting, add them directly to the stew along with any juices that have been released. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more so the flavors become friendly; season to taste with salt.
  5. Ladle into shallow bowls. Top each serving with some of the lemon-parsley mixture and drizzle with some more olive oil, and season with flaky salt, if you like. Serve with toasted bread.

This is not a sponsored post, Note* all opinions are my own.

All cookbook collection cooking Fall Food fall menus january cleanse juice january Juicing juicing january Uncategorized vegetarian soup : Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

THE BEST Thanksgiving stuffing:: Pear Walnut Crispy Bacon Stuffing

Turkey with Pear Walnut and Crispy Bacon Stuffing

Saying a recipe is the best is a bold statement, I know. But this stuffing really is a game changer. Give it a try and let me know what you think. And if you’re looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration, tis’ the season for my book Picture Perfect Parties. If you want to pull off an amazing holiday soiree, grab a copy!

Pear Walnut Crispy Bacon Stuffing
Serves 8-10

 

You will need:
– 5 slices of bacon
– 1 yellow onion chopped
– 2 stalks of celery chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic minced
– 1 cup toasted walnut halves
– 3 pears cored and cubed
– 4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
– 4 tablespoons chopped rosemary
– 3 links of Italian sausage, out of the casing and crumbled
– 1 loaf of country bread cubed
– 3 cups of turkey stock

To Prepare:

In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until crispy, drain, and set aside. Reserving about a ¼ cup of the bacon drippings in the pan (discard the rest) sauté the onion, garlic and celery in the bacon drippings, when translucent, add the sausage and sage and rosemary walnuts, pears remove from heat. In a large bowl place the bread cubes and the turkey stock, add the mixture from the sauté pan, and crumble the bacon into the bread bowl combine thoroughly.

Grease a casserole dish pour the stuffing into the dish. Set aside until ready to bake

*Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, serve warm

 

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

All celebration cookbook collection cooking dinner party Entertaining Events Fall Food fall menus Holiday Holiday Entertaining kids table Picture Perfect Parties Recipes Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , ,