Those of you who have been around a while know that I have coined the term “Southern Creole” as my style of cooking. If you are new, “Southern Creole” just means world food through a New Orleans lens. I bring this up because the dish prepared on this week’s Hunger Trap – Nola Carbonara – was a quintessential example of “Southern Creole,” taking a classic Italian favorite and adding traditional New Orleans flavors.
Back in the day carbonara was known as a Roman-style hunter’s dish because of its simplicity. It only requires five ingredients: guanciale (cured pig cheek), spaghetti, Parmesan, eggs and black pepper. By the time the pasta has finished cooking you’re practically at the dinner table eating.
However, my New Orleans carbonara substitutes in tasso (a specialty cured ham often used in south Louisiana cuisine), spaghetti, Parmesan, onions, parsley, eggs and my blackening seasoning. My version of the recipe is just as creamy as the traditional but kicks up the spice level with the addition of spicy tasso meat and blackening seasoning.
If you’re looking for a quick dish to make for your family or a romantic evening this dish is perfect. Get some wine, set the mood with some good music and enjoy my Southern Creole take on this Italian classic.
New Orleans Alla Carbonara
- ½ lb. spaghetti pasta
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lbs. tasso or pancetta chopped
- ¼ onion chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup pecorino romano or parmesan grated
- Savory NOLA Seasoning or black pepper to taste
Cook pasta and salt in boiling water for 6 minutes. Do not discard water.
In a cold skillet over medium heat oil and tasso and cook until it begins to brown about 3-5 minutes, add onions, cook for 2 minutes. With tongs remove pasta and add to skillet. Take ¼ cup of pasta water and add to skillet, keep stirring. Remove from heat and cool for 1 minute.
In a bowl beat eggs, egg yolk, ¼ cup pecorino and Savory NOLA seasoning. Stir into pasta and coat evenly. Divide between two plates, garnish with more pecorino and black pepper.
Note: Under cook your pasta because it will continue to cook as you finish the sauce. Pasta water helps to create the creamy sauce texture. Eggs will cook from the residual heat of the pasta.