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Deconstructed Carbonara
Deconstructed Carbonara Photo courtesy of Christopher Hirsheime

Leave it to Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer to reinvent the classic Italian pasta dish known as carbonara. The duo are the award-winning creatives behind the Canal House cooking series and a new cookbook, Canal House Cooks Every Day, that documents a year of everyday eating in their New Jersey-based studio. Their deconstructed carbonara speaks to their easygoing style, with a simple pancetta sauce, poached eggs and prepared pasta sheets forming the bulk of dish. Finish your plate with a generous sprinkle of black pepper and pecorino cheese, and you, too, can bring a piece of the Canal House home.

Makes 4 servings
Start to Finish: 30 minutes

Ingredients

2 cups diced pancetta

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt

Splash of vinegar

4 eggs

12 sheets of fresh pasta, each about 4 inches long

Freshly ground black pepper

Shaved Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving

Directions

1. In a medium skillet set over medium heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the butter to the skillet and keep warm over very low heat.

2. Bring a medium saucepan filled with salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the vinegar and reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Crack the eggs into 4 small cups or ramekins. Give the water a good circular stir, then tip 1 egg at a time into the center of the swirling water. Simmer the eggs until the whites are white and the yolks remain soft, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a plate lined with a clean dishcloth to drain.

3. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spatula or tongs, divide the pasta between 4 plates, letting most of the water drain off before spreading them out on the plates.

4. Put a poached egg on top of the pasta on each plate, then spoon the pancetta and butter over the top of each. Season with a little salt and lots of black pepper. Serve immediately with shaved pecorino for garnish.

Note: To make this dish serve 2, simply halve the ingredients for the pancetta-butter sauce and serve the sauce over 4 pasta sheets and 2 eggs per person.

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