Linguine Carbonara

These days I have sun-kissed shoulders, and sore legs upon waking.  I have an increase in energy, and a deeper appreciation for my body, with a deeper knowledge of what it can or can’t do.  I have a newfound love for every human I meet and greet on my bike.  Maybe I haven’t understood what it really means to love my neighbor until now.  Or maybe I just had low expectations for such a simple command, in a society that has low expectations for community.

Outside of a car it is easy to see outside of my experience and to see a new reality.  It is easy to see things how they really are, not just how I want them to be.  Suddenly the entire way we live doesn’t make any sense, and I feel the weight of it.  We transport ourselves in boxes, only to go to and from more boxes.  There are boxes and barriers everywhere, disguised in the newest technology and common conveniences.  In these boxes, specifically the car, it is easy to lose the ability to see each other as humans.  As sons and daughters, mothers and brothers, with emotions just like ours.

I see now that the car wasn’t giving me permission and freedom to be the neighbor, friend, mother and wife I desire to be.  I am not saying you can’t be a good person behind the wheel, I am just saying that a lifestyle dependent on a car was working against the relationships we desire.    When I ride my bike or walk I can’t hide from anyone or anything, and my instinct and desire to engage and connect is only encouraged.  This makes me really happy, even if I arrive to every destination sore and sweating.  I can’t live beyond my means in more ways than one.

When I ride my bike people yell out friendly things, honk, and wave.   “It’s a beautiful day to ride,” everyone keeps saying.  I tell them that everyday is a beautiful day to ride.  They smile and laugh, and then I wonder if they will say the same thing when they see me 6 months from now, knee deep in snow.  I wonder if I will say the same thing too.  I’ve been stopped on the road and asked if my name is Erin.  I was caught so off guard, I froze.  Then I figured there is only one woman riding a bike that look like a boat in this town, so I answered, yes, but really I wanted to say ” Look, I am biking with bacon and wine!”  I just love the novelty of that.

These slow and full car free days we have acquired an appetite that asks for savory, indulgent pasta, without any hesitation.  It’s summer and we don’t have air conditioning , but hearty meals like this are a little more necessary around here.  If I can cook while enjoying a chilled glass of white, somehow I don’t mind the heat.  Chris was so in love with this pasta that he willingly, and enthusiastically washed the dishes, without thinking twice.  So, I made a mental note and made it again a few days later, after I biked to the store, and biked back home with more bacon and wine!  Maybe we look like crazies, but I am telling you, this is the good life! A really really good life.

Linguine Carbonara

Serves 4-6

1 lb. of linguine pasta

10 oz. pancetta or bacon

2 tbsp. olive oil

5 cloves of garlic chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)

2/3 cup white wine

1 heaping cup of finely grated parmesan

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup of chopped basil

Salt & pepper to taste

Disclaimer:  I am not claiming this to be a traditional carbonara pasta, it may or may not be.  I researched lots of recipes and then tried and tested a few times until I came up with something that Chris and I both love.  We enjoyed this pasta on a killer date night in Portland a few months ago.  It was probably some of the best pasta we have ever had.  Until I made it at home I never knew that this pasta doesn’t have any cream, despite its creaminess.  It is the eggs, parmesan, and hot pasta water, while whisking the noodles in very quickly, that cooks the eggs and results in a very creamy sauce.  Authentic or not, it is damn good and is now on our list of favorites!

Directions:

In a large pan saute cut up pieces of bacon or pancetta with olive oil.  Stir occasionally. Cook until the bacon is almost crisp, and then add the garlic and white wine.  Continue to cook until it is slightly reduced and thickened.   This will take about 5-7 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water with a generous amount of sea salt and a splash of olive oil, to a boil.  Cook pasta as directed on package.

While pasta is cooking, In a large bowl whisk egg yolks, finely grated parmesan, salt and pepper, and bacon/wine sauce.  You want to whisk this together moments before the pasta is done, so that the hot bacon sauce does not scramble your eggs.  Before draining pasta, reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water, and whisk that into the rest of your sauce mixture.  Immediately pour pasta in the large pot you cooked it in.  Add the sauce, and fresh basil and whisk vigorously.   I used tongs that were locked together and then I opened them up to mix vertically as well.  Keep mixing, until the pasta starts to thicken and looks creamy.  This will take at least 5 minutes.  Serve with a little more salt and pepper if necessary.  And of course, drink the rest of the white wine that you didn’t use in the recipe.:)