I cannot express how much I love coming home from work knowing I don’t have to cook, but I’m going to try anyway….
1. The feeling of freedom I get driving home from a long day of work makes me smile like a little Kid on Christmas morning (and by Kid I mean Luke)!
2. Food cooked for you in your own kitchen where you can eat it in your underwear if you so choose always tastes better than if you’d cooked the same meal yourself. (I just want to go on record as saying I rarely eat dinner in my underwear)
3. Even though I usually end up cleaning the kitchen when I have a guest Chef, and even if that Chef is Chef Vivi who always manages to dirty every single pot/pan/gadget/baking dish/mixing bowl in my kitchen, its still worth it to have a night off from cooking.
4. I don’t have to come up with yet ANOTHER DINNER IDEA!! That’s huge. Like mongo KingKong huge! My brain is mush….And Chef Vivi never fails to make something unbelievably tasty that I can add to my tired repertoire of recipes.
5. It’s fodder for the Blog. Taking pictures of someone else cooking is so much easier than cooking with one hand, holding the camera with another all while trying not to slosh food out of the pan/mixing bowl and onto the floor. Yes, that has happened. More than once…The Parmesan Chicken catastrophe still gives me nightmares *shudder*
Pasta Carbonara ala Chef Vivi (adapted from This recipe on PW’s site)
- 1 pound Pancetta
- 1 pound Linguine Pasta
- 1 whole Large Onion
- 8 cloves Garlic
- 1 cup White Wine (or Substitute Another Cup Of broth)
- 1 cup Chicken broth
- 4 whole Eggs
- 1-1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1 bunch Parsley
- 1/2 stick Butter
- Black Pepper to taste
Forgive my slightly out of focus photo, I was so focused on the Pancetta I paid no attention to the fact the wine was blurry. It takes alot to make me lose my focus on wine….
Pancetta…..let me just say a word about this Pancetta. The word is OhLordThisStuffIsAmazingIDontKnowHowIEverLivedWithoutItAndDoNotWantToTryEver. Another word: Yummy. Chef Vivi brought this from Washington where apparently they realize that sometimes you need a block of Pancetta and not just the pititful little 3 ounce packages of thinner than paper slices that I can get around my neck of the woods. This hunk of Italian bacon is a thing of beauty, a delight for the senses, a revelation of taste. Its really really good I tell ya!!! Now, having said that, let me just add that you can substitute regular bacon if you feel you absolutely must….
What ever bacon you use, chop it up! Throw it in a big skillet and cook it til as much fat as possible is rendered and you’re left with gorgeous little golden brown pieces of crispy heaven. Use a slotted spoon and removed the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and leave the drippings in the pan.
I want to eat this. Right now. Someone please stop me……
Add the chopped onion to the pan and saute until they start to brown.. After the onions have cooked for a couple of minutes, throw in the garlic. Yes, all of it! Trust me!!! Adding it after the onions have cooked a little will prevent the garlic from burning.
At this stage, go ahead and start the salted water boiling for your linguini. It should cook to perfection in about 9 minutes when added to the boiling water.
Using your slotted spoon again, remove all the onion and garlicy goodness to the same paper towel lined plate that the beautiful Pancetta is on. Discard the rest of the grease but DO NOT let me catch you wiping out the pan or removing all that browned lovliness that is stuck to the bottom of the pan!! That is pure flavor in there!!!
Chef Vivi measures her wine….a step I find completely unneccessary. You open the bottle, you pour a bunch in and you drink the rest while stuffs cooking….silly child, 🙂
Let the pan get good and hot again, then pour in the wine (or broth if you’re not cooking with wine)
Using a whisk, scrape the bottom of the pan vigorously until the little bits of flavor have released themselves into the liquid and the pan is completely deglazed. Once all the browned bits have been loosened, add in the broth. (If you skipped the whole wine scene, then you’re already here!)
Lets chat about broth for a sec….I am a firm believer in making your own stock. However, having said that I also am a realist and know it’s not always possible or practical. So I use this Better Than Bouillon. And it is….richer flavor than any canned or carton of broth I’ve ever used, ditto for the chock-full-o-nothin-but-salt bouillon cubes *gah* . I keep the chicken and beef versions in my pantry at all times. Trust me!
Give it a stir and let it simmer for a minute and then add the cooked onions and Pancetta to the pan. This is your sauce….Its divine! While its bubbling, start on the egg mixture.
Crack the eggs into a very large bowl.
Add the chopped parsley (reserve a little for garnish) and the grated parmesan.
Stir like hell!
Your pasta should be done by now, so drain it and add it to the egg mixture. NOTE: this is when the eggs get cooked so make sure your pasta is HOT! Pour on the oniony, bacony sauce from the pan and toss like there’s no tomorrow!!
*drool* Pile it on a plate, sprinkle on some extra parmesan and a little parsley.
Holy cow! If you’re mouth isn’t watering right now there is something wrong with you!! See a doctor!! Sublime in its simplicity…Simply Sublime?? Whatever, its dang good!
It seems like a lot of steps but honestly, once the Pancetta (or bacon) is rendered the rest of this masterpiece is completed in the time it takes to cook the pasta…(Unless your Mom is standing around photographing every step saying things like “can you chop a little slower, I’m getting a blur” or “Can you stir with your left hand, you’re blocking my shot”,
and then it make take slightly longer…:) Or maybe it just seems like a lot of steps because I was on photographer overload and took a kajillion pics of my beautiful Chef…
Serve this with a nice crusty bread, you will want it to sop up every drop of the sauce…