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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) CREAMY carbonara recipe? (Read 4,859 times)
Queshank
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CREAMY carbonara recipe?
Sep 5th, 2014 at 8:18am
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Does anyone know of one?  I've been experimenting with this pasta and every formulation of a recipe I've tried has resulted in something that tastes a bit like glorified ramen noodles.  None of the recipes result in a nice thick creamy sauce.

The base recipe I've been using consists of:

4 large eggs
6 slices bacon
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Fresh chopped parsley
Spaghetti noodles
(I cook a couple chicken breasts and dice to mix in too)

I've added heavy cream and tried that.  I'm thinking the ingredient I'm missing for a nice creamy sauce is butter?  None of the recipes I've found on the Internet add butter.  Oddly the recipe always says to add some of the pasta water if the sauce is too thick ... but I always have the opposite problem.  I think my expectations might be wrong for this dish.

Hoping there's some actual cooks here who can help this neophyte out Smiley

Queshank
  
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Re: CREAMY carbonara recipe?
Reply #1 - Sep 5th, 2014 at 7:46pm
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Quote:
Does anyone know of one?  I've been experimenting with this pasta and every formulation of a recipe I've tried has resulted in something that tastes a bit like glorified ramen noodles.  None of the recipes result in a nice thick creamy sauce.

The base recipe I've been using consists of:

4 large eggs
6 slices bacon
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Fresh chopped parsley
Spaghetti noodles
(I cook a couple chicken breasts and dice to mix in too)

I've added heavy cream and tried that.  I'm thinking the ingredient I'm missing for a nice creamy sauce is butter?  None of the recipes I've found on the Internet add butter.  Oddly the recipe always says to add some of the pasta water if the sauce is too thick ... but I always have the opposite problem.  I think my expectations might be wrong for this dish.

Hoping there's some actual cooks here who can help this neophyte out Smiley

Queshank

Based on what you want and your ingredients I think you're a bit confused. That's not your fault as most ethnic foods we eat are Americanized and resemble little their original recipe.
Carbonara is a Roman dish and doesn't really have a sauce as Americans see it. The egg is just enough to bind it and coat the pasta.

I think what you want is an American style alfredo sauce with pancetta or bacon.

Here is a simple recipe:

Heavy cream
1 egg yoke
Pecorino Romano cheese
bacon
fresh black pepper
some of the water the pasta was cooked in.

Cook the bacon but not too crispy and chop into small pieces. In a cold pan add the heavy cream and bacon and and bring to a simmer. Now the egg yoke has to be incorporated but you can't just throw it in or you'll end up with scrambled eggs. It has to be tempered. When I seperate the yoke from the whites I keep the yoke in a mug. Spoon 1 or 2 tablespoons of the simmering sauce into the mug and stir. Now the egg yoke is ready to be incorporated. Add the egg and stir. The sauce will thicken a bit. Now add the grated cheese. A little at a time. The egg has a fat, the cream has fat so adding more fat too quickly will break the sauce. Sprinkle in some and stir. Add some more and stir. Repeat until you have the desired taste. The cheese will also thicken the sauce. If it becomes too thick just as some of the pasta water to thin it out. Add the pepper and pasta. Toss to coat and your done.

  

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Queshank
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Re: CREAMY carbonara recipe?
Reply #2 - Sep 6th, 2014 at 10:21am
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Thanks Bert!

To be honest the reason I've started exploring carbonara is because one of my wife's favorite sandwiches was the chicken carbonara sandwich from quiznos.  Our local quiznos went out of business (but we've got 6 subways .. go figure).  When I started trying to make chicken carbonara pasta my expectations were indeed for more of a alfredo'ish sauce and obviously unrealistic as you point out.  My next endeavor was going to be trying to blend an alfredo and carbonara recipe by adding butter and more cream.

I'm only just getting into cooking seriously.  I grew up on cans of beefaroni, hamburger helper, frozen pizzas and kraft Macaroni & cheese and up until the past 6 months or so that was the extent of my cooking skills.  (Having a business owner for a mom has its drawbacks).  Now that I'm taking it more seriously I'm surprised by how much art and science mixes in this fascinating field.  I have Gordon Ramsay to thank for that ... was looking for a good way to pan fry a steak (I am a grilling disaster walking ... even managed to burn off my eyebrows once ... something my wife will never let me forget) and found a video by him and have since become a devoted fan.  I appreciate the tips.  Wednesday nights are my carbonara experimentation nights so I'll be following your suggestions this Wednesday.  Your tempering of the egg yolk technique seems a lot more foolproof than whisking furiously while slowly adding the egg mixture to the pasta.

Queshank
  
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Re: CREAMY carbonara recipe?
Reply #3 - Sep 6th, 2014 at 10:43pm
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Quote:
Thanks Bert!

To be honest the reason I've started exploring carbonara is because one of my wife's favorite sandwiches was the chicken carbonara sandwich from quiznos.  Our local quiznos went out of business (but we've got 6 subways .. go figure).  When I started trying to make chicken carbonara pasta my expectations were indeed for more of a alfredo'ish sauce and obviously unrealistic as you point out.  My next endeavor was going to be trying to blend an alfredo and carbonara recipe by adding butter and more cream.


I loved that sandwich! Unfortunately I can't eat gluten so I haven't had it in years and don't remember how it tastes. However if you could describe it to me I could probably steer you in the right direction.

Quote:
I'm only just getting into cooking seriously.  I grew up on cans of beefaroni, hamburger helper, frozen pizzas and kraft Macaroni & cheese and up until the past 6 months or so that was the extent of my cooking skills.  (Having a business owner for a mom has its drawbacks).  Now that I'm taking it more seriously I'm surprised by how much art and science mixes in this fascinating field.  I have Gordon Ramsay to thank for that ... was looking for a good way to pan fry a steak (I am a grilling disaster walking ... even managed to burn off my eyebrows once ... something my wife will never let me forget) and found a video by him and have since become a devoted fan.  I appreciate the tips.  Wednesday nights are my carbonara experimentation nights so I'll be following your suggestions this Wednesday.  Your tempering of the egg yolk technique seems a lot more foolproof than whisking furiously while slowly adding the egg mixture to the pasta.

Queshank


I only recently tried hamburger for the first time and I love it.!

There is a bit of science when it comes to cooking. Especially when it comes to fats. They are very unstable. But I think the actual cooking and the techniques are only 40 percent of it. The rest is the palette. The wider your palette the easier it is to cook and create. The more foods and spices and cuisines you are familiar with the easier it is to cook good food. It's easier to put flavors together that are compatible. And it's fun. I don't how often you and your wife go out to eat but I suggest make a habit of trying different ethnic cuisines. It's really fun.

I cooked in Italian restaurants from the age of 13 to 26. Since then I have studied Puerto Rican, Cuban, Jamaican, Northern Indian, Southern Indian, Nepalese, Szechuan Chinese, Cantonese Chinese, American Chinese, Traditional English, Traditional Welsh and southern American.

I have a passion for cooking and food so if you have any questions just ask.
  

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Queshank
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Re: CREAMY carbonara recipe?
Reply #4 - Sep 8th, 2014 at 9:30am
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The Wet Dreams of Mr Cousteau wrote on Sep 6th, 2014 at 10:43pm:
I loved that sandwich! Unfortunately I can't eat gluten so I haven't had it in years and don't remember how it tastes. However if you could describe it to me I could probably steer you in the right direction.


It has been a long time since I ate one.  Next time I'm out of town I'll have to pick one up and refresh my own memory as well.  I just came across a carbonara recipe and thought "Hey that looks easy, wonder if it'll replace the sandwich". 

Quote:
I only recently tried hamburger for the first time and I love it.!


Do you mean Hamburger Helper?  If so ... the Cheezy Enchilada version is a family favorite Smiley

Quote:
There is a bit of science when it comes to cooking. Especially when it comes to fats. They are very unstable. But I think the actual cooking and the techniques are only 40 percent of it. The rest is the palette. The wider your palette the easier it is to cook and create. The more foods and spices and cuisines you are familiar with the easier it is to cook good food. It's easier to put flavors together that are compatible. And it's fun. I don't how often you and your wife go out to eat but I suggest make a habit of trying different ethnic cuisines. It's really fun.


Chinese and Mexican is all we have available for options without a 5 hour drive.  My wife has a very limited palette (no onions, no mushrooms, no tomato chunks, no this, no that) so I'm already a bit handicapped in what I can make.  I've been branching out as I get older and I'm surprised to find I enjoy things I didn't like as a kid.  I tried to make a salmon filet a couple weeks ago for my fish hating family and the end result was the cats and dog ate well that night on wild sockeye salmon.  Just can't do fish ... the hate runs too strong in us.  I suppose it's because you can't get farther away from the sea than our family here in SD so we've never had a reason to eat fish.

For spices I'm pretty much familiar with salt ... pepper .... Ortega taco seasoning ... and chili seasoning for our family chili recipe.  Grin  I'm starting to build a spice inventory one spice at a time.  But I watch an episode of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (the English version ... the American is terrible IMO) or Chopped (it's fast becoming my favorite show) or something and I hear them talk about all these spices and I think "hmm, wonder what that tastes like".  I'm hoping as I learn more dishes that call for more exotic (by my definition of the term) spices I'll get to experience some things like cumin that I keep hearing about. 

Quote:
I cooked in Italian restaurants from the age of 13 to 26. Since then I have studied Puerto Rican, Cuban, Jamaican, Northern Indian, Southern Indian, Nepalese, Szechuan Chinese, Cantonese Chinese, American Chinese, Traditional English, Traditional Welsh and southern American.

I have a passion for cooking and food so if you have any questions just ask.


That's fantastic.  Thank you.  Careful what you offer tho because I'll be pestering you left and right!  I'm really starting to get into this and enjoying taking the time to find the right pan etc whenever I try a new dish.  Tonight .. chicken penne from a recipe I found on a free cooking app for the Ipad.  I have most of the ingredients already from a few dishes I tried last week and it looks easy enough.  I find the hardest part of cooking is finding something that my wife and son will enjoy eating to justify cooking enough to get the recipe mastered.  Just heavy cream, peas, chicken breast, penne pasta, some parsley and that's about it.  Right up my alley.

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The Wet Dreams of Mr Cousteau
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Re: CREAMY carbonara recipe?
Reply #5 - Sep 9th, 2014 at 11:54pm
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Quote:
It has been a long time since I ate one.  Next time I'm out of town I'll have to pick one up and refresh my own memory as well.  I just came across a carbonara recipe and thought "Hey that looks easy, wonder if it'll replace the sandwich". 


The more I think about it a basic Alfredo sauce is where you want to start. You can flavor it any way you want.


Quote:
Do you mean Hamburger Helper?  If so ... the Cheezy Enchilada version is a family favorite Smiley


That's what I meant. I can't find the Cheezy Enchilada up here in Jersey.

Quote:
Chinese and Mexican is all we have available for options without a 5 hour drive.
 

That's great. They are two totally different cuisines and employ great cooking techniques and most of their dishes have very layered flavor profiles. Cook a few of those and you will be streets ahead of most people.

Quote:
My wife has a very limited palette (no onions, no mushrooms, no tomato chunks, no this, no that) so I'm already a bit handicapped in what I can make.  I've been branching out as I get older and I'm surprised to find I enjoy things I didn't like as a kid. 


This is where you have to be a bit clever and very brave. Cook things you know she likes (chicken, beef, pork etc.) but don't tell her what is in it. Just put it in front of her. Give it a fancy name if needed. My wife had a list of things she said she hated yet when I gave them to her and she didn't know she usually loved it. Really what I am saying is have her and the family eat it before you tell them everything that is in it. You'll get more positive results.


Quote:
I tried to make a salmon filet a couple weeks ago for my fish hating family and the end result was the cats and dog ate well that night on wild sockeye salmon.  Just can't do fish ... the hate runs too strong in us.  I suppose it's because you can't get farther away from the sea than our family here in SD so we've never had a reason to eat fish.


LOL

That's too bad. Seafood and sauces are my specialty. I could give you hundreds of recipes.

Quote:
For spices I'm pretty much familiar with salt ... pepper .... Ortega taco seasoning ... and chili seasoning for our family chili recipe.  Grin  I'm starting to build a spice inventory one spice at a time.  But I watch an episode of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (the English version ... the American is terrible IMO) or Chopped (it's fast becoming my favorite show) or something and I hear them talk about all these spices and I think "hmm, wonder what that tastes like".  I'm hoping as I learn more dishes that call for more exotic (by my definition of the term) spices I'll get to experience some things like cumin that I keep hearing about. 


Spices will be an expensive investment, but they last a while. I wouldn't worry about really building a spice collection until you figure out where you are going to focus your cooking. So play around and buy as needed. I will say this though. If you want to understand spices learn some Indian cooking. You will not regret it.

Quote:
That's fantastic.  Thank you.  Careful what you offer tho because I'll be pestering you left and right!  I'm really starting to get into this and enjoying taking the time to find the right pan etc whenever I try a new dish.  Tonight .. chicken penne from a recipe I found on a free cooking app for the Ipad.  I have most of the ingredients already from a few dishes I tried last week and it looks easy enough.  I find the hardest part of cooking is finding something that my wife and son will enjoy eating to justify cooking enough to get the recipe mastered.  Just heavy cream, peas, chicken breast, penne pasta, some parsley and that's about it.  Right up my alley.

Queshank

You'd be amazed at the number of dates I have saved with my mates calling me frantic hoping I can save their dinner date. So ask away. It's my belief that world peace could be achieved over a good meal and fine bottle of wine.
Be careful when you start buying cooking gear. It's addicting. Any store that has a lot of kitchen stuff becomes your Disneyland.
  

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Queshank
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Re: CREAMY carbonara recipe?
Reply #6 - Sep 10th, 2014 at 4:15pm
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"Just don't tell them what they're eating."  It seems so obvious now!  It's not that my wife doesn't like the taste of tomatoes ... it's something about the texture of tomatoes and mushrooms that she can't stand.  So if I blend things properly she'll never know!

I tried salmon because I'd heard it wasn't very "Fishy" tasting and because of how healthy it is.  I've since heard people say if I want to add fish I should start with something like Orange Ruffy?  Do you agree with that sentiment?  The fact that fish is so darn healthy makes me want to add it to our diet.  But man ... the taste ... oh the taste.  /gag hehe.

Buying new gear is a problem I'm used to ... GAS  (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) is an affliction I have struggled with my entire musical life Smiley

I have been wanting to try Indian food for years.  Whenever we're in the cities we hit the stock places we've always hit and always forget about Indian food.  We even lived in a bedroom community outside of Minneapolis with 2 Indian restaurants and somehow never managed to go to one ... because we always went out up to the cities to eat. 

Here's a couple questions for you:

Natural gas or electric oven?  We have electric now and I was almost tempted to put in a natural gas stove.  But that's pushing it until I'm at a level far above where I am now.

Teflon or stainless steel for pans?  (Then of course there's the ceramic or the copper lined or the cast iron ... )  I have a cast iron grill pan I've been using (to preserve my eyebrows) and all Teflon pans.  But I need a new frying pan because I'm tired of the wobble in our main frying pan and something about Teflon gives me the cancer creeps anyway.

Queshank
  
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Re: CREAMY carbonara recipe?
Reply #7 - Sep 10th, 2014 at 11:28pm
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"Just don't tell them what they're eating."  It seems so obvious now!  It's not that my wife doesn't like the taste of tomatoes ... it's something about the texture of tomatoes and mushrooms that she can't stand.  So if I blend things properly she'll never know!
It's probably the skin that she doesn't like. That's easily removable. But that's not a big deal as tomatoes are usually used in in ways other than whole form. Mushrooms are hard to hide. They have that distinct earthy taste.

Quote:
I tried salmon because I'd heard it wasn't very "Fishy" tasting and because of how healthy it is.  I've since heard people say if I want to add fish I should start with something like Orange Ruffy?  Do you agree with that sentiment?  The fact that fish is so darn healthy makes me want to add it to our diet.  But man ... the taste ... oh the taste.  /gag hehe.


Orange roughy is good. So is tilapia and mahi mahi. They're not very fishy. However they aren't very firm fish so it's hard for beginners to work with them and not have them fall apart. Try cod as well. It's aroma is a bit strong but the flavor is mild. It's also easy to work with.

Quote:
Buying new gear is a problem I'm used to ... GAS  (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) is an affliction I have struggled with my entire musical life Smiley


I know the feeling. I had that problem with cymbals.

Quote:
I have been wanting to try Indian food for years.  Whenever we're in the cities we hit the stock places we've always hit and always forget about Indian food.  We even lived in a bedroom community outside of Minneapolis with 2 Indian restaurants and somehow never managed to go to one ... because we always went out up to the cities to eat. 


You should try making a Tikka Masala. It's an Indian curry created for the British palette so it's not too strong. It's an excellent introduction it Indian cooking and flavors.

Quote:
Here's a couple questions for you:

Natural gas or electric oven?  We have electric now and I was almost tempted to put in a natural gas stove.  But that's pushing it until I'm at a level far above where I am now.


Gas is always the first choice because of response and temperature. Gas cookers reach temperature faster and respond quicker but I have found that most electric stoves built over the last few years are just fine. it takes a bit longer to boil a large pot of water but the response to changing the temperature is pretty quick. So if you have a recent electric cooker I wouldn't worry.

Quote:
Teflon or stainless steel for pans?  (Then of course there's the ceramic or the copper lined or the cast iron ... )  I have a cast iron grill pan I've been using (to preserve my eyebrows) and all Teflon pans.  But I need a new frying pan because I'm tired of the wobble in our main frying pan and something about Teflon gives me the cancer creeps anyway.

Queshank


Both! Stainless steel is the best and what I use most however I do have two non stick pans. One specifically for delicate cooking such as omelets, crepes, pancakes etc and another for pretty much anything else if I'm feeling lazy.
As a beginner your biggest hurdle will be understanding and controlling temperature. You will be more likely to have the heat too high and burn or have it too low and have the food stick. You will also have issues with food sticking to the pan because you are not uses to cooking proteins. All proteins stick but they will also detach themselves from the pan. You will learn when a a piece of meat, fish etc is ready to be turned over. Until then use non stick. They will make your learning much easier. Just don't put them in the dishwasher or use very high heat with them (no matter what the manufacturer says).
Copper is supposed to distribute the heat most evenly but I never saw a difference. As far as ceramic goes I only have a ceramic casserole pot which I use for braising. It's excellent but I have never used a ceramic pan.
  

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Queshank
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Re: CREAMY carbonara recipe?
Reply #8 - Sep 11th, 2014 at 11:53am
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Good to know on the pans.  Last night I wasn't able to give the carbonara experiments a try because I had too much work to do and spent too much of my morning on LNF (so my evening was spent working and we had carryout for supper). 

I'll just pick up a decent sized nonstick saute' pan.  I always want to try to do things the so called "right" way so I would have been buying stainless steel all-stick pans and then frustrating myself that I kept screwing things up. 

The gas stove will have to wait until I prove myself with our electric range. 

Thanks for the tip on Tikka Masala.  I always hear about "curry" and I have no idea what they're supposed to taste like.  I imagine I should goto an Indian restaurant and try it before I try to make it?  Or is it easy enough I could try it this weekend from an online recipe and see how it goes?  (If I screw it up my family will never trust me to make it again so I gotta make it good first try lol)

In a few months ... when the wild sockeye salmon debacle has faded to a distant memory ... I will try some form of white fish.  The pets are already salivating hehe.

Queshank
  
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Queshank
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Re: CREAMY carbonara recipe?
Reply #9 - Sep 11th, 2014 at 6:15pm
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Okay that actually looks fantastic.  And easy.  I'm going to try to make it this weekend.

Is that a real "tikka masala"? Or a way off Americanization?

Queshank
  
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