I love when an old kitchen standard translates smoothly using local ingredients. Even better is when it happens on the fly, like yesterday, when we cooked up a big platter of carbonara after Charlie’s long run. Yes, the pasta, parmesan, and olive oil came from who-knows-where. But the flavor and character of the dish depended on the bacon, eggs, garlic, and wine – all of which came from local sources – plus flat-leaf parsley from our herb garden.

I’m sure it’s possible to find local pasta, parmesan, and olive oil. Doing so would be relatively time-intensive, as would making the ingredients myself, another way to get uber-local. But homemade isn’t really an option for me in this case, at least on a routine basis. Even if fresh handmade pasta is so amazingly delicious.

Here’s something, though. My gourmet friend Alice just made her first batch of mozzarella, using whole milk procured at Saturday’s farmers market. She described the cheese as squeaky but tasty and said she thinks she took out too much of the whey. I have no idea what that means but she promises us a report on her adventures. Maybe we’ll even be able to talk her into home-crafted parmesan. A whole different meaning to friends with benefits?

Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara

1 egg / 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese / 2 tbls parsley, minced / 3 strips bacon /2 cloves garlic, lightly mashed / 1/2 cup white wine / 1/4 cup olive oil / salt & pepper

Mix egg, cheese, and parsley in a mixing bowl large enough for pasta. Season with salt & pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high and saute bacon until crispy, then drain on a paper towel. Pour most of the bacon fat out, saute garlic until golden, then add wine and reduce by half. Cook pasta for 2, drain, and quickly add to bowl with egg and cheese. Add wine mixture and stir everything together, watching for the egg to firm into curds. Adjust seasoning, if needed. Feeds 2.

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