Photo Credit: Art Loving Italy, Adobe Stock

This afternoon, being particularly hungry, I thought it would be fun to talk about some pasta recipes I am dreaming of at the moment! Two dishes come readily to mind!

The first is Pasta Carbonara.

Hands down this is my favorite pasta to prepare. It is pure comfort food. This is traditionally considered to be a Roman dish, from the Lazio region in Italy. I’m sure, however, Sophia the protagonist of “Dreaming Sophia” who finds herself in Florence, would agree that this is an incredibly delicious and satisfying pasta dish to prepare AND eat no matter where you live!

Traditionally this spaghetti is prepared with the jowl of a cured pig or as they say in Italian the ”guanciale di maiale.” But don’t worry if you can’t find a cured pig in your local deli or meat market, suffice it to say bacon or pancetta work just as well. Romans prepare this dish with Pecorino Romano. Pecorino is a cheese made with sheep’s milk. But even Italians concede that is acceptable to prepare this pasta dish with Parmigiano Reggiano as well.

Photo Credit: Art Loving Italy, Adobe Stock

The secret to preparing a really great Pasta Carbonara is to add the eggs at just the right moment. You don’t want to overcook them so that they become scrambled. Rather the goal is to create a rich sauce that when blended with the cheese coats the spaghetti noodles in a very creamy way. My trick is to add a bit of the boiling pasta water while whisking the eggs prior to adding them to the noodles. This starts the warming of the raw eggs and keeps them from solidifying too soon when added to the hot pasta.

Here are the ingredients for a dish to serve roughly two people:

1 pound dry spaghetti (pasta secca)
4 oz guanciale di maiale or pancetta diced into small cubes or strips
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or Pecorino Romano)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley chopped

Rather than write out the instructions, take a look at this video on how to prepare pasta carbonara. Keep in mind, while the ingredients are few and quite simple, there can be variations and cooking techniques, so feel to play with the recipe if you like.

The second pasta I adore is Tagliatelle Paglia & Fieno.

In English Paglia and Fieno translates to Hay and Straw pasta. It gets its name from the combination of yellow and green noodles that are used to prepare the dish. This is a recipe typically found in northern Italy where Florence is located. It is a simple recipe to make and again you can improvise by adding a few veggies to the recipe, like peas and mushrooms. You can also use sausage, ham or pancetta (bacon). The version I like the best uses cream in the sauce, but you can also use tomato sauce if you prefer. As for cheese, a staple ingredient of this recipe, you can use Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese.

Here are the ingredients for a dish to serve roughly two people:

1 pound fresh paglia e fieno (yellow and green tagliatelle noodles)
4 scallions or onions
1 cup shelled peas
Springs of thyme
Funghi / mushrooms (if you like)
6 – 8 slices prosciutto, bacon, or sausage (your choice of meat)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Take a look as this video to learn how to prepare Paglia & Fieno. It is in Italian…but pictures speak a thousand words and you will get the general idea of how to cook this pasta dish by watching the film clip.

As they say in Italian “io ho l’acquolina in bocca!” My mouth is watering. I think I know what’s on the menu for dinner tonight AND tomorrow! How about you? What is your favorite pasta dish? I’d love to know! Share a recipe here on the Dreaming Sophia site! 

Buon appetito!

If you liked this post you might like this one about Italian Christmas cakes: Panettone versus Pandoro!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *