The air has a decided chill to it for a subtle, spring morning. The flowers are in bloom, the light is still soft as the sun wakes to greet the day. The stone of Roma’s Spanish Steps are cold, absorbing the breezy temperature, waiting on the warmth of the sun. I sit sipping a Macchiato, dreaming of how I will enjoy my last few months in Europe. It’s my last day in Roma. Tomorrow, I must return to university in the south of France. But that still leaves today – a rare day of educational freedom…a day for sightseeing.
As I begin walking towards the Colosseum, I am surprised to find the downtown streets closed to the chaos and noise of traffic. Although this is naught but a logical choice to combat the damage caused by pollution, to the peripatetic, traveler’s mind, it is filled with the sentimental throwbacks of simpler times when people strolled down the middle of Roma’s cobblestoned-like streets. The quiet yields an unknown pace, a daydreamer’s paradise. I wonder what it would be like to read Virgil’s The Aeneid on a park bench in front of Il Monumento di Vittorio Emanuele II. I wonder how many years it took to build the marble-like bastion that stands proudly on the Roman palatinos. A reminder of stories past, a monument to the untold strengths of futures promised.
Behind me is the Forum Traiani (Trajan’s Forum), the last of Ancient Rome’s fori built from what else but the spoils of war. In the middle, between Il Monumento and Il Colosseo, stands what was once the center of Roman life, the Forum Romanum (Roman Forum). Overlooking it all, the gardens and residences dotting Il Palatino (The Palatine Hill). What was once a place where Emperor’s walked now stands as an open air museum, a tourist’s bastion, a historical picture, frozen in time, filled with the voices of ghosts past questioning if we are headed straight for a complete Circus Maximus! That would be the roman version of a train wreck in historical humor! Yep, I totally went there!
Nothing like a stroll down memory lane to make a girl hungry. Just behind Il Colosseo…and yes I am just pretentious enough to properly pronounce all names in their original language. Trust me, don’t ever say the word Chateaubriand to my brother-in-law. There’s a story there…ahum back to the food…Just behind Il Colosseo, there is a small Italian cafe. Afterall, ambulating through history requires a substantial dish of approval. ;o) I say substantial, because the dish I present here is not particularly historical as it’s creation is currently attributed to the twentieth century. It is; however, considered a Roman dish…hence the Roman reminiscence.
The inspiration for this meal came as I was perusing Debriele Corcos new cookbook Extra Virgin. Yes, I understand that Debriele is actually two people, but they just seem like a one-name type of couple! In fact, I can just see Debi and Gabriele rolling their eyes at the addition of cream to an otherwise beautiful pasta (although they brought it up in the recipe’s introduction)! Look on the bright side…I sort of took your advice! For tips and tricks on measuring pasta, feel free to visit the Single Kitchtionary. I will also post information on lardons in the Foodtionary as I just found them in Oklahoma of all places. You can substitute bacon or pancetta, but the dish just isn’t the same!
Cook Time: 10 minutes Serving Size: 1 serving
Adapted From: Extra Virgin by Gabriele Corcos & Debi Mazar
2oz (or 2 bunches of artisinally dried) linguini (see Measuring Pasta)
1/4 cup lardons
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon half-n-half
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1½ tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 scallion, light and green parts only, minced
1. Begin by preparing the linguine per the instructions shown on the packet. Prep the remaining ingredients whilst the pasta is cooking.
2. In a small saute pan over medium heat, cook the peas and pancetta. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, stir the egg, egg yolk, half-n-half, and both cheeses together in a medium mixing bowl. Once the peas and pancetta have cooled, add to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Next, add the cooked, drained pasta and stir to combine. Return the Pasta Carbonara to the saute pan and heat for 1-2 minutes over low heat. Remember, you don’t want to cook the egg sauce, just heat it through. Taste for seasoning.
3. Top with the minced scallions and more grated Parmigiano! Yum!