August 22, 2010

Spaghetti with Garlic, Parmesan, and Egg

Here it is Sunday night again - and as we've mentioned, we like to make a simple, unplanned meal with whatever we find in the fridge and the pantry for Sunday dinner. We've been away for the past week, traveling and hiking in New Mexico and Colorado with my dad, so today is our return to the kitchen and home cooked meals, which makes us especially desirous of something simple and delicious. We had a fantastic time wandering through archaeological sites at Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde and hiking around the San Juan mountains, and we enjoyed the fact that nearly everything we ate - including the sandwiches we picked up to take hiking - included green chiles. But at a certain point, you do get a little tired of eating sandwiches smushed from being in a backpack all day for lunch and buffalo burgers for dinner (especially when the establishments serving said burgers also feature stuffed relatives of the burger staring down at you from the wall), and are ready to have control over what you eat.

Anyway, it's Sunday, we're home, and we made a dish that has been one of our long standing favorites. It's very similar to a Pasta alla Carbonara, but with no meat - here the garlic provides the flavor rather than bacon or pancetta, while the egg and parmesan coat the spaghetti with a savory sauce with an almost creamy texture. We like the freshness that the parsley adds, and of course you can't go wrong with some delicious, sweet cherry tomatoes on top.
Since tomatoes are finally in full season, we had a caprese salad to go with it. Before we get into the recipe, however, these two dishes give us an opportunity to get two culinary pet peeves off our chests:
1. Spaghetti alla carbonara does not need cream! Really - even Mario Batali agrees.
2. Caprese salad does not need balsamic vinegar! All you need is fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, a little basil, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

Spaghetti with garlic, parmesan, and egg (serves 2)
- 6 ounces spaghetti (or however much suits your appetite)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
Cook the spaghetti and, when you drain it, reserve about 1/4 cup of the water. As the spaghetti is cooking, heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook until it softens. Add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet, then add the egg. Let the egg begin to cook a little bit on the hot pasta itself before stirring it in.
Add the cheese, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (be careful with those red pepper flakes - my hand slipped on this once and resulted in a rather teary dinner), and when the egg is fully cooked, add the cheese and reserved pasta water. Give the mixture a good stir, letting the egg, cheese, and water coat the noodles. Serve, topping with the parsley and the tomatoes, if you desire.

1 comment:

  1. I made a caprese salad yesterday, too! Yum! Perfect summer dish! And agreed on leaving out the balsalmic vinegar!