Posts Tagged 'eggs'

Bacon and Egg Fried Rice

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This dish is better than anything your making. No really, it is. For the simple reason that it has bacon in it. Is there a more perfect food than bacon? If the ancient Greeks had bacon, bacon would’ve been served instead of ambrosia on Mount Olympus; Plato would’ve contemplated the Form of Bacon instead of the Form of Beauty; statues of bacon would’ve been made instead of athletes. Is there something that bacon doesn’t make better?

Well, I’m pretty sure there is (I can’t imagine bacon works particularly well in sweet foods). So, enough bacon hyperbole. It’s not the solution to the world’s problems. But it is quite good.

We actually get a pretty good bacon from our local butcher shop (I appreciate buying bacon in small quantities because, while it’s good, I don’t use it all that often). I have no idea where they buy it from but otherwise the Niman Ranch bacon sold at Trader Joe’s quite good (and don’t get me started on their ham).

The first time I made this dish it instantly became comfort food for me. I don’t know how or why, but there it is. There’s some quality to it that brings me solace. I’m betting it’s the bacon.

This dish comes from Gourmet originally. Their version is available on Epicurious. The recipe is pretty quick (it takes slightly longer than it takes the rice to cook) and pretty easy. It also makes wonderful leftovers (I actually made this on Tuesday night and have been eating the rest of at lunch and telling my coworkers “My lunch is better than yours because it has bacon”). Sadly, we didn’t have any scallions so I had to leave them out (there’s a slight taste difference and, more noticeably, the colors different).

While I haven’t done it, this dish seems like it would be tailor made for some modifications. Replace the bacon with ham maybe. Or even sausage. But why would you want to do that? Maybe there’s a worldwide bacon shortage; I need to remember to buy pork belly futures then.

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Bacon and Egg Fried Rice
Adapted from Gourmet, May 2007

2 cups long-grained rice
2 1/2 cups of water
8 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2″ strips
6 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 tsp sesame oil

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a sauce pan over high heat. Add the rice, cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  3. In a large (no, not that one, the bigger one; you’ll need it) non-stick skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 6 minutes. Pour the bacon into a bowl through a strainer. Reserve both.
  4. Return 3 tbsp bacon fat to the skillet, turn heat to medium, and add the onions. Cook until softened about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and cook, stirring constantly, until just about set, about 1 minute.
  5. Make a well in the center, and add 2 tbsp bacon fat and the vegetable oil. Add the rice, remaining salt (1 tsp), and remaining pepper (1/4 tsp) and cook while stirring about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the bacon, scallions, and sesame oil, stir, and cook for 1 minute to heat thoroughly.

Serves 6.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Doesn’t look like much does it? And, really, it’s not. Spaghetti alla carbonara is one of my default Angela-is-out-and-I-need-something-for-dinner meal. The critical path (why yes, I’m an engineer) on this dish is cooking the pasta so it isn’t really time or energy intensive. Plus, it tastes good in a comfort food sort of way.

I first tried this dish in Italy and fell in love with it in Rome. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant (I know it’s in a guidebook at home) but I do remember two things about it: it was by Pompey’s theater (which means it was in the Jewish ghetto) and that it opened for dinner at 7:30 PM. I know this second part because I showed up at 7:00 PM and was told that I would have to wait until 7:30 PM. So I waited and I was glad I did as I had the best spaghetti alla carbonara that I’ve ever had.

My version is not as good as that served in Rome. I’ve really had trouble finding a satisfactory recipe. Most recipes say that the pasta will cook the eggs in a bowl. And they’re wrong (possibly dangerously as the eggs don’t really cook). Some recipes say to add cream. Again, they’re wrong; the real dish doesn’t have cream. And serving it with a raw egg may be trendy (I think that’s how Mario Batali serves it at his restaurants) but it’s not particularly appetizing to me.

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My thoughts are that it should be creamy but that the eggs should make it creamy. The only way I’ve found to do that is to slowly cook the eggs with the pasta as if making a custard. Is it authentic? I have no idea (it’s probably not) but it tastes good to me and fulfills my memories of the dish.

The recipe is loosely based on one from a book I bought in Italy, All the Recipes, Pasta of Italian Cuisine. However, the technique of the recipe is pretty much my own creation and I’ve modified the ingredients list a bit. I’ve only ever used panchetta, but I’m sure it would be good with guanciale (more authentic) or even bacon (what’s not good with bacon?). Also, when the recipe says to stir constantly, do so or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs (which, while it may be good, is not spaghetti alla carbonara). Finally, the recipe as listed only serves 1 because Angela doesn’t like it. I’ve also found that the final step of cooking the egg and pasta together seems to work better when there’s less of it. The recipe could easily be multiplied to whatever number of portions you’d like (or depending how hungry you are; this isn’t a lot of food for one person).

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Spaghetti alla Carbonara

4 oz pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 oz panchetta, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
4 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese
salt and pepper

  1. Bring water to a boil, add salt, and cook the pasta. Under cook it by one minute.
  2. While the pasta cooks, in a sauce pan (preferably nonstick), add the olive oil and the garlic clove. Turn the heat to medium. When the oil is hot, add the panchetta and cook until it is browned but not completely cooked (the panchetta will cook for a minute after the heat is off).  Remove the garlic clove.  Turn off the heat.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, 2 tbsp cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.
  4. When the pasta is finished cooking, strain it and add it to the sauce pan. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Prepare a serving bowl. While constantly stirring, turn the heat to medium and cook. When the egg mixture just begins to solidify on the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat and pour to pasta into the prepared serving dish.

Serves 1.


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