Location: Finale Emilia, in the Italian province of Modena
Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara
March is the month in which human beings – trapped inside for months to avoid winter – finally, well, go a little crazy.
And being the wise creatures that we are, we humans have also realized that it’s better to ritualize our weather-induced insanity rather than let it run amok by, for example, grabbing a club and galumphing over to Frank’s cave to knock him upside the head because he and Brenda totally dropped the ball on our plans for a joint Florida cruise!!!!!!
Ah. Now doesn’t that feel better.
How do humans ritualize March madness? Well…
Catholics, and some Christians, celebrate Mardi Gras.
Jews celebrate Purim.
Sports fans celebrate the NCAA Playoffs.
And women celebrate….
Wait a second? Are you kidding me?
That’s how we’re supposed to let loose after months of having to trudge through the snow in our Manolo Blahniks???
By celebrating Women’s History Month????
NO FRIGGING WAY!!!!!
Okay…deep breath…stay calm…must think…Ides of March…ideas…
Wait! Got it! Alright people. Listen up:
I’m hereby announcing the Female Version of March Madness:
This March, instead of a respectable, feel-good holiday about all things femme, I’m advocating a release of seasonally-induced craziness (as opposed to the hormonally induced one, already discussed in an earlier post) by exercising our right to a Hall Pass:
In other words, a month in which women can eat all the de-stressing, comfort food we want, without having to worry about our weight!
Just imagine it ladies: ice cream, pasta, tater tots (even if some cheerleading instructors among us consider them a controlled substance).
Stand away from the pantry, boys.
This March, we are WOMEN GONE CULINARILY WILD!
Here in New York City, my Italian friend, Samantha, got a few of us ladies off to a smashing start the other night by making spaghetti carbonara. Her recipe is simple and delicious and, better yet, I’ve provided a non-bacon version for the vegetarian and non-pork eaters among us.
Last, but not least, in another bout of madness for the CS Cook, I’m hosting my first-ever contest:
Take a picture of your favorite comfort food and tell me in 200 words or less why you love it.
The contest is open to all. You don’t even need to have XX chromosomes to enter. Deadline for entries is Sunday, March 13, 2011, at midnight. Winner announced March 16, 2011.
* Check out the Website Samantha writes for, NUOK.IT, the Italian’s guide to all things New York.
Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara
Servings: 3 to 4
8 ounces spaghetti – 250 grams
3 egg yolks
12 ounces bacon (We used Wegman’s uncured bacon or substitute equal amount of turkey bacon or baby bella mushrooms) – 340 grams
ground black pepper
Pecorino romano cheese (to taste)
1. Chop bacon into small pieces. Cook in skillet over medium heat until crisp but not burnt. If substituting mushrooms, first heat 1/4 cup (59 milliliters or 2 UK liquid ounces) olive oil in skillet. Once hot, add chopped mushrooms and a pinch or two of salt. Allow to cook 10-15 minutes until tender.
2. In small bowl, beat egg yolks, then add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cook pasta in large pot of salted water. When done (al dente, a little chewy still), pour approximately 4 ounces (118 milliliters), approximately half a glass, of pasta cooking water into a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
4. Once cooking water is warm, add three-quarters of it to the egg yolks. Whisk to combine.
5. Return skillet with bacon to stove under low heat.
6. In a colander, drain pasta from large pot, then toss in pan with bacon.
7. Add eggs to pan. Toss to combine. Turn heat off and keep tossing.
8. If pasta looks dry, add more of the pasta cooking water to moisten.
9. Serve immediately in individual bowls. Top with grated pecorino romano and pepper.
** Want to know the inspiration for the black and white photos above? They came from this year’s TED Prize Winner, graffiti artist JR. **