What is my favorite comfort food?
If I were in the deepest need of comfort of the provisional kind, I would make a large batch of carbonara and a double chocolate cake. I mentioned carbonara in my favorite foods post, and it’s truly that good. It takes about 20 minutes to make and it’s incredibly cheap if you substitute regular bacon for pancetta.
1 lb. rigatoni
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb. pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine (I always use a Pinot Grigio)
3 large egg yolks
Two handfuls freshly grated Romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt, or omit it entirely)
1. Boil a large pot of water for the rigatoni. Add a liberal amount of salt. Cook the pasta to al dente.
2. At the same time, warm up a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and brown the pancetta for a few minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook together for two minutes. Be watchful not to burn the garlic.
3. Deglaze the pan with the wine and stir up all the drippings. Turn down the temperature so the sauce simmers.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and add one ladleful of starchy cooking water from the pasta pot. Temper the water – pour it slowly into the eggs as to not cook them. Drip by drip, whisk the hot water and egg yolks together.
5. Drain the rigatoni and add it to the pancetta and oil. Remove from heat entirely. Toss the pasta so the noodles are coated. Next, rapidly toss the egg mixture with the pasta. Finally, toss in the cheese and add pepper. (Taste it before you add salt. Between the cheese and wine, you may be good to go.)