One of the cookbooks I received for Christmas was Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italy. It's a wonderful book full of great authentic Italian recipes and pictures. Jamie travelled the country cooking with the locals and learning the proper way to cook Italian food. There was actually a companion television show that I saw the final installment of. The show I saw was very funny, I'll definitely need to find the other shows. The first recipe I chose to make was Linguine Carbonara with Sausage. It looked easy enough and I thought it would be good on a very cold evening. It was simple to make and I only made minor changes to the recipe, due in part to time and available ingredients. I did not make little sausage balls because my sausage was still slightly frozen, I just removed the casings and sliced off 1 inch pieces. I also used a 3 ounce package of thinly sliced pancetta, because my store did not have anything else to choose from. His recipe calls for reserving some of the pasta cooking liquid to be added to the finished product. He called for a couple of spoonfuls. I reserved about 1/4 cup of the water, but felt I could have added at least a 1/2 of a cup. It was pretty sticky and I would have preferred it to be smoother. Otherwise the flavor was very good and the lemon zest added a nice hint of citrus.
Linguine alla Cabonara di Salsiccia
4 good-quality Italian Sausages
4 slices of thickly cut pancetta, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. dried linguine
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
zest of 1 lemon
a sprig of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
With a sharp knife, slit the sausage skins lengthwise and pop the meat out. Using wet hands, roll little balls of sausage meat about the size of large marbles and place to one side. Heat a large frying pan and add a good splash of olive oil. Gently fry the meatballs until golden brown, then add pancetta and continue cooking for a couple of minutes, until golden. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package. In a large bowl, whip yolks, cream, half of the Parmesan, lemon zest and parsley. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the pasta water. Immediately toss the pasta and the egg mixture in the pasta pot. Add the hot sausage and toss everything together. The egg will cook delicately from the heat of the pasta, just enough for it to thicken and not scramble. the sauce should be smooth and silky. if the pasta becomes a little sticky add a few spoonfuls of the reserved cooking water to loosen it slightly. Sprinkle over the rest of the Parmesan, season if necessary, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and serve. Eat immediately!