Thursday, March 17, 2011

Penne with Carbonara

Woo hoo! Thanks to Food Renegade for putting this link out there...check out the food-blog carnival-fun at

In honor of what would have been Grandma Nancy's umpteenth birthday, I made some lovely pasta tonight. When she was five years old, Nancy (the Americanized version of her real name, Annunziata) traveled across the Atlantic in the early 1900's with her mama, Anna Theresa, from Sulmona, near Rocca, In Italy. La Rocca, as it is called, is a beautiful town built atop a plateau that has a huge ravine on each side. (The ravines are dried up remains of rivers called the Lavino and Lanello.) It's simply enormous, and amazing that they all survive atop the oddly flat perch in the sky, looking at the Majella mountains. There the people used to keep sheep, and make lovely cheese and other delicacies. It is mostly empty now, as most of the former inhabitants have emigrated to other parts. It is said, however, that occasionally you can find pecorino cheese to purchase there, which is made from the local sheep and goats which graze nearby. Pecorino is a wonderful ingredient in the following dish:

Penne with Carbonara

In a skillet, fry four strips of bacon until crisp and brown, but not burned. Turn your flame off. Put the bacon aside and let it rest on paper towels so the grease absorbs out. Drain the grease from your pan, and make sure you do not drip any to the underside of your pan. Don't want a grease-fire! I found this out the hard way. Relight the fire to a low flame, and add the following to saute-three tablespoons of butter, three cloves chopped garlic, a quarter of finely chopped onion, and stir until butter is melted. Then add three slices of mozzarella, and half a cup of cream or whole milk. stir until the cheese melts. Then add several good shakes of grated parmesan or pecorino, and stir until all the cheese is absorbed. Coarsely chop the bacon, and put it back in the pan. Add a can of crushed tomatoes, about a half cup at a time. Stir, stir, stir. Add, finally, a few good grinds of black pepper, and a smattering of marjoram and basil. Serve over penne pasta cooked al dente, and enjoy. Of course this is altered Carbonara, because of the addition of tomatoes. I put it in there because I love them so!Perhaps I feel they redeem all that lovely fat from the bacon, the butter and the cream. Oh, and the cheese, too....

Oh well.

Yeah, who am I kidding, it's comfort food.

Eat well, have fun, and love lots!


  1. Antonia...that. sounds. DIVINE!
    (much better than the spaghetti with jarred sauce I made tonight. LOL)
    Your Grandma Nancy shared a birthday with my Grandpa who passed nearly 2 years ago. Happy birthday to them both! <3

  2. Yeah, that sounds like comfort food. And potentially delicious. :-)