Carbonara. Well, carbonara-ish, minus the bacon...not that I don't love a good hit of pork product whenever I can get it. When left to fend for myself on these brisk late-fall evenings, carbonara is the answer. Home alone for a couple of quiet hours, I want to kick back, relax and have a nice warm bowl of creamy, peppery noodles. And a glass of red wine. And an episode of Law and Order: SVU.
This is a new habit, maybe a fetish, only about three weeks old. In fact, I'd never even had carbonara of any manner until I made it myself last year...the whole production, with guanciale and fresh pasta, fresh egg, etc, etc. And it was damn good!
But my own personal comfort dish is a simpler and more homey, and takes only as long to prepare as it does for the water to boil. Who doesn't always have noodles, eggs, butter, parmesan and black pepper around? Don't you? Well, wait- I'd like to say otherwise, but it can't necessarily be any old noodle. It has to be a spaghetti or fettucine or a pappardelle. Not a penne or a rigatoni or a gemelli. I tried it and well, eh...not so much. That, however is the only rule.
Here's how it goes from there: Turn on the lights. Take off your coat, kick off your shoes. Thumb through the mail, pet the cat. Put water on to boil, take one egg, some butter and cheese out of the fridge. Go get your cozy outfit on, with the fuzzy socks. Throw pasta in the water with some salt. Pour a glass of red, turn on "Jeopardy!" Ladle a bit of water from the pasta pot into a teacup. Drain the pasta, toss it back in the pot with a lump of butter (you decide, don't be skimpy, please don't insult this dish with any feeble substitutes) and the teacup full of pasta water. Swish it all around making it nice and shiny, then drop it into a bowl. Crack the egg, saving your whites for breakfast tomorrow and gently place the yolk atop the noodle nest. Grind some pepper, sprinkle some salt, grate some cheese and give it all a good mix with your fork. Lick eggy-buttery goodness from fork en route to the couch. Settle in, sip wine, enjoy the perfect dinner for one.