Already ate your crispy salt pork or crunchy bacon but still have plenty of yummy pig grease? And whatcha gonna do with all those eggs you bought for Easter? If you haven’t dyed them all yet, bust out a pound of spaghetti—I stocked up when Central Market had their own brand on special last month—and whip up a cheap meal of spaghetti alla carbonara. Nobody around here doesn’t like noodles, pig fat and cheese, so this Roman-style classic is a sure-fire winner.
And if that’s not enough fat for springtime, take the softened butter that you didn’t finish up with your holiday rolls (CM’s brioche dinner rolls are on sale for $2.99 a dozen and they do rule), mix in a bit of Dijon mustard (or whatever mustard you got) left on the knife from dressing your after-school-snack Kocurek frankfurters, and swipe it with your freshly plucked radishes for a fancy treat.
Enjoy a few new local strawberries—(from Barton Creek, Sunset Valley or Austin farmers markets) and a late-season grapefruit for dessert and there’s your whole meal.
MAKIN’ DO TEXAS CARBONARISH serves about half a dozen hungry folks
- 1 pound organic spaghetti. Central Market and Whole Foods own brand are good values.
- a couple good spoonfuls of good grease, such as from Dai Due‘s salt pork or bacon
- dash of organic or Texas olive oil, optional. For organic I love Spanish Villa Blanca. Check out Texas’ own Texas Olive Ranch at our local farmers markets.
- half a good-sized Texas red onion, or whatever Texas onions you have, chopped
- 3 bulbs of local green garlic, minced
- ¼ cup wine, red or white
- 3 local eggs
- 3 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or 2 ounces Reggiano plus 1 ounce Pecorino Romano.
Get your big pot of water going to cook the spaghetti. I’m not gonna try to tell you when to salt your pasta water but I always salt it at the beginning.
Meanwhile, heat up your fats and saute the onion with a pinch of salt until softened. Stir in the garlic to release its fragrance, then add the wine and boil it off. In a very large bowl, stir the eggs and cheese together briskly until emulsified.
When the spaghetti tests done, dunk a glass measuring cup into the pot to reserve about ¾ cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and the onions to the eggs and toss well with two large forks to mix it all up. Splash in the cooking water as needed to create a creamy, emulsified sauce. You may not need all the water.
Season with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper and top each serving with a nice flaky salt (such a Murray River salt flakes), to taste.
Eat it up hot!