BLT-Style Carbonara Pasta
Add wine to crispy pancetta, leeks, garlic and chili pepper; simmer with parsely and tomatoes, toss with pasta and finish with Pecorino cheese for a robust dinner.
- 1 large, ripe heirloom tomato or 4 plum or Roma tomatoes
- 1 pound egg tagliatelle, such as Del Verde brand or other wide, long-cut pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1/3 pound lean, good-quality bacon, smoky speck or milder pancetta, chopped
- 2 leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick, washed and dried on clean towel
- 5-6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 small chili pepper, such as Fresno or Italian cherry chili pepper, finely chopped or thinly sliced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- A generous handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 3 large, organic egg yolks, lightly beaten
- Lots of freshly grated Pecorino cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Score an “X” into the tomato skin, place it in the boiling water to a count of 30, then remove it to a bowl of ice water with tongs or a spider. Peel, seed and chop the tomato and reserve.
Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta to al dente. Heads up: you will need some starchy cooking water to temper the egg yolks, so reserve a cup or so before draining the pasta.
Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium to medium-high heat with the EVOO. Add the bacon, speck or pancetta, and cook until almost crisp. Add the leeks, garlic and chili and stir for a couple of minutes, then add the wine and reduce by half. Add the parsley and tomato and reduce the heat to low.
When the pasta is about ready, add about 1/2 cup starchy water to the eggs yolks while beating them with a fork to temper them. Toss the pasta with the bacon and eggs, turn off heat, then toss vigorously a full minute, using more starchy water if the pasta tightens up (the yolks should smoothly cover the pasta).
Serve with Pecorino at the table for passing.