Moms often work tirelessly to care for their families, with many juggling careers and time spent at home. It’s a balance that is sometimes tricky to manage, and at times mothers need to have their loads lightened. Children or spouses who learn to cook can take some pressure off of Mom.
Mother’s Day is a prime opportunity for other members of the household to spend time in the kitchen. Pasta dishes generally are easy to prepare and can feed a crowd. Such is the case with this recipe for “Carbonara” from “Rachael Ray: Memories and Meals From a Sweet and Savory Life,” (Ballantine Books) by Rachael Ray.
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1/4 cup approximately EVOO
1/3 pound chunk of meaty pancetta or guanciale, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup white wine
6 large egg yolks
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more to pass
1 pound bucatini or spaghetti
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a fat handful of leaves)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan. Add the pancetta or guanciale and render for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper and stir 1 minute more.
Add the wine and reduce by half (about 7 minutes), then reduce the heat to low.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and grated cheeses. Add the pasta to the liberally salted boiling water and cook to 1 minute less than al dente per the package recommendation. Remove about 1 1/4 cups of starchy cooking water from the pot and whisk it into the egg yolks in a steady stream to temper them.
Reserve an extra 1/2 cup of starchy water just in case. Drain the pasta or transfer it with a spider or tongs to the pan with the pancetta and garlic. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tempered egg yolks and parsley. Toss to combine.
If the sauce seems too thin, return the heat to the lowest setting and, stirring constantly for 2 to 4 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Add salt to taste.
Note: Many recipes for this dish include heavy cream. Such recipes may be delicious, but they’re not authentic. The creamy consistency here comes from tempering the eggs and emulsifying them with oil, cheese and cooking water.