SPAGHETTI CARBONARA

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I found this vintage French copper mold on ebay.  It’s actually one of a trio of molds:

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I’m not sure what you would mold in these — maybe pate or aspic?  Maybe they’re just decorative.  Of the three, the pig with his curly little tail is my favorite, and the inspiration for today’s recipe.

Have you ever wondered why a whole roasted pig is usually served with an apple in its mouth?  One urban myth is that it’s to keep the pig’s mouth open in order to let toxic gasses from the pig’s stomach escape during roasting.  It turns out that it’s purely aesthetic.  Reportedly, as the pig roasts, its jaws tighten into an unsightly grimace, and the apple helps prevent, or at least minimize, that.  It is also believed by some that the tradition, which goes back 800 years, may be symbolic of the pig’s life cycle.  In the fall, pigs were fattened up on apples, and an apple in the pig’s mouth is thought to have been a way to symbolize the life and death cycle.

I’m not a big fan of the whole roast pig with an apple in its mouth thing.  Maybe it’s because my dog Jasper likes to pretend he’s a whole roast pig with an apple in his mouth:

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photo-8 copyYou can put lipstick on a pig . . . .

Did you know that in Germany, pigs are a symbol of good luck?

iPhoto Library copyNot long ago, I came home to discover that my friend had dropped off a bunch of leftovers from a business dinner at my favorite restaurant, Provisions, including roast pig:

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OK, so maybe the pig wasn’t lucky, but we sure were!  Although there wasn’t enough for a meal for our family, there was plenty to use in Spaghetti Carbonara.  The recipe is adapted from one from Martha Stewart, and although most traditional recipes call for pancetta, you can use any smoked pork product — bacon, Canadian bacon, prosciutto, roast pig — and it will be just as good.  Martha’s calls for half a cup of half and half, but do yourself a favor and just use 2 tablespoons — you’ll still get the desired taste and effect.

The kids were so happy to have this rich dish for dinner that I earned a “thanks for making dinner, Mom.”  They literally pigged out on it.  Were they happy enough to help with the dishes?  Yeah, right, when pigs fly!

SPAGHETTI CARBONARA
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Recipe type: Pasta
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoons half and half
  • ⅓ cup minced roast pig (can substitute bacon, ham, etc.)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add spaghetti and cook according to package instructions until al dente.
  2. While pasta is cooking, whisk together eggs, Parmesan cheese, and half and half in a medium bowl.
  3. Drain pasta and transfer to large bowl, Immediately add egg mixture to hot pasta and toss to combine (the heat from the pasta will cook the eggs). Add roast pig, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, as desired, and serve immediately.

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Kids were happy as pigs in mud eating Spaghetti Carbonara!

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