Okay, let’s all take a deeeeeep breath. The last three days in Paris have been a wee bit crazy. I am still having a hard time processing it all… Did all of that just really happen? Did a gaggle of retarded people just storm Paris in the name of Islam, take hostages and kill more than a dozen innocent people? Unfortunately, yes. However, I have to say… I am proud. I am proud that I live amongst these Parisians… These brave Parisians who rallied without fear or intimidation in the Republic Square defending their right to free speech chanting, “Je suis Charlie.” Viva LaFrance.
Enter comfort food. Today, I think all of France needs a big helping of comfort food. Today is not a day for poached salmon or goat cheese salad. No, today France needs a big serving of spaghetti carbonara and copious amounts of wine. Spaghetti carbonara is a short-term solution until we find a long-term solution to all of this unrest. Yes Parisians, make a big bowl of spaghetti carbonara, shed some tears, regain your strength, go forward and, as my friend Diandra always says, (via Wilferd Peterson), “Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it."
Even though spaghetti carbonara only has a few simple ingredients… It ain’t all that easy to make. You need to practice. Timing, execution and ingredients are everything with spaghetti carbonara. You can’t just throw everything in a pan like an asshole. You have to finesse spaghetti carbonara. There is a wonderful blog called Rachel Eats in which the author describes her six-year spaghetti carbonara anxiety. After finally overcoming her fears, she has perfected the recipe. Read the article HERE.
Okay, let’s start with some secrets from the experts for spaghetti carbonara…
Use whole eggs and then add one egg yolk.
Use the Japanese onsen egg method… Learn HERE.
Guanciale or pancetta is best… Thickly cut with plenty of fat… Fry until crispy but not crunchy.
Use a mixture of Parmesan and pecorino.
While heating the oil, add garlic cloves, infuse the oil and then discard the garlic before you add the pancetta.
Spaghetti noodles are good but short rigatoni noodles are better to capture the sauce.
Top with a dash of nutmeg.
Like I said, ingredients are key and if you want the very best, the very best, the very best ingredients for spaghetti carbonara you need to head to Italy and find Paolo Parisi. Signor Parisi is a Tuscan farmer/shepherd/gourmet/gastro-snob who specializes in raising Livornese hens and the near extinct black Cinta Senese pigs. Eggs and pork… Two of the most important ingredients for spaghetti carbonara. Signor Parisi’s eggs are lauded to be the best eggs on earth having “a fresh taste, a yoke that is softer and richer in fat than most, with an uncommonly long protein structure and a mild almond flavor. They also have the capacity to incorporate three times the amount of air than the average yoke when whipped.” At $4 a pop per egg, these “well worth it” high maintenance precious hens are all-natural, free-roaming and are fed goats milk. Signor Parisi’s pedigreed pigs are fed pinenuts and chestnuts and are allowed three blissful years of free roaming before being “reincarnated” into guanciale.fed Wow! :-)
Okay, now for some recipes…
Spaghetti Carbonara by Damn Delicious Blog. Recipe HERE.
Spaghetti Carbonara by Paolo Parisi. Recipe HERE.
Spaghetti Carbonara by Mario Batali. Recipe HERE.
Spaghetti carbonara… Mastered!
*Something you don’t know about me? My daughter was homeschooled for three out of the four years of high school. It was the best decision we’ve ever made and surprisingly, it was all Gracie’s idea. I chose to be the type of parent who actually listened to their child. I believed that I raised Gracie with enough intelligence that by the time she was entering high school, she was able to make her own decisions… Sort of. When Gracie was about to start the ninth grade, we decided to move to Paris. I, of course, started researching schools for Gracie. Gracie had a mini meltdown. Gracie is so incredibly shy that it actually hampers her life. She has always been like that and it is just her nature and I cannot change it. So… I needed to listen to Gracie. She did not want to start a school in France as a freshman, not knowing the culture and not knowing the language. She suggested homeschooling. Brilliant idea, I thought. I had already lost faith in brick-and-mortar schools anyway. Homeschooling is the wave of the future. I continued my research and found the best homeschooling program for Gracie.…K-12.com. Gracie learned how to take charge of her own education, make her own schedule, have a one-on-one relationship with her teachers and feel proactive towards her future. Gracie was free to travel and explore the world as well which is an instrumental part of one’s education. Yep, Gracie woke up at about noon, had a cup of tea and toast, started her French lessons, had a home-cooked lunch, read her English literature in the sunshine, had one-on-one tutoring for math, did a little yoga and swimming in the afternoon for PE, went to a museum for art history, and escaped every inch of high school peer pressure that destroys self-esteem from bullies, stoners and slackers. Gracie actually came out of high school unscathed. No, don’t get the wrong idea, homeschooling is not just for the wealthy with a stay-at-home parent. There are completely tuition free public homeschooling programs that provide everything one would need including a computer, books and supplies. We actually received in the mail, delivered to our house, art supplies including clay, paint, canvases and everything one would need for art class. The good news is that I was not the teacher. The K-12.com program has a designated teacher for each class that Gracie could communicate with daily via text, email and Skype. I went to work part-time while Gracie was at home… Homeschooling. Yes, homeschooling is mostly successful if you have a responsible child, willing to work independently… Which Gracie was. As Gracie organized her own schedule, she was free by 4 PM when her friends got out of school to “hang out.” Gracie did not miss out on socializing. After a couple hours of going to the mall, getting afterschool burritos and smoothies, Gracie returned home and continued working on her studies until she went to bed. Selfishly, I was so happy Gracie chose to continue homeschooling in the 11th and 12th grade because I got to see her sassy little smile all day as I was in the beginning throes of ALS. (She went to “regular school” in New York for the 10th grade.) By the time Gracie finished 12th grade, she was ready for college… Confident, responsible, motivated and proactive. Best decision ever made over here at the O’Connell household. I know that there is a lot of controversy surrounding homeschooling. Dare I ask what your thoughts are on homeschooling?