Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hello, Old Friend

As always, when I don't feel like running out to pick up any missing ingredients for a given dish, I make pasta with whatever's on hand. Tonight it was spaghetti alla carbonara, which we love but hadn't had in a long time.

Usually I don't skimp with the parsley, which I mix together with a couple of eggs, a bunch of Parmesan, and lots of black pepper. To that mixture I add the hot pasta, dressed with pancetta or bacon plus cream (if I have cream) and whatever else I feel like adding that day (sometimes onion, sometimes garlic, sometimes broth). Then I stir it all together to distribute the flavors evenly and "cook" the egg. But I was out of parsley, and the sprigs in our garden had nearly died, starved of light and nutrients by sharing the soil with our out-of-control tomato plants. I rescued the crop, but barely, and it was coming back slowly. So I clipped only a couple of perimeter sprigs tonight, figuring that if I'm patient we might have a decent plant just in time for the first frost.

To make up for the lack of attractive green specks, I threw in a few frozen peas, which carbonara often includes anyway. And I don't usually have heavy cream lying around unless I have some left over from another use. I had it tonight because I'd bought it to use in celery soup, but the soup was rich enough without it.

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