Morbid Meals – Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya

EXAMINATION

A wise man named Penn Jillette once said, “Everybody got a gris-gris.Gris-gris (pronounced gree-gree) is a French term from voodoo for the medicine pouch that vodouisants wear around their neck. What Penn was saying, however, is that we all have something that we cling to, whether it be something tangible to bring us good luck (or ward off bad luck), a belief, a superstition, even a firmly and long-held conviction that centers us or even defines us. That something, according to Penn, is the one thing we should scrutinize first and foremost in our lives and try to change about ourselves, hard as it may be.

For me I think it is fair to say that my gris-gris is food. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Dan,” I hear you say, ”we all need food.” Yes, which is why we should scrutinize it. I fear that so many folks walk through life just throwing anything bite-sized (or super-sized) down their gullet without thinking about it.

It is one of the reasons why I started Morbid Meals. We must eat to live, which means something else must die. We don’t like to think about that, though. We’ve pre-packaged, homogenized, and mass marketed products so that we don’t have to think about where our food came from. That nicely fits a model of consumption not sustenance.

Now I’m not saying we should all jump on the latest food fad of dietary detritus. That too is a gris-gris; putting your faith in what somebody else says is good for you, bad for you, will help you lose weight, etc. The corollary to my mantra is that we are all going to die no matter what we eat. Some food will kill us faster than others, but an acceptance of moderation is really what I’m advocating here. Everything in moderation including moderation.

You’ve likely noticed this at play in my recipes here before. Many of them offer alternatives for those with dietary restrictions, suggestions for alterations, never requiring you follow these recipes to the letter. I’ve also presented my share of crazy creations that would be fun to try at least once, and then you can go back to eating healthy or whatever. Live a little while you can. Food is life, food is love.

So, I’ll step off my soapbox and say that if you need a gris-gris, why not try a little bit ah Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya, hey now. Doctor’s orders. Dr. John, the Night Tripper, that is.

Now before y’all freak out, this recipe makes a lot of gumbo. It is meant to be shared with a large family. (The loas might like a bowl, too.) We also love having leftovers. Gumbo gets even better when you put it up and eat it the next day. Feel free to divide in half if you prefer. It also takes a long time to cook, like almost 3 hours. Gumbo is not fast food. It is completely worth the effort.

ANALYSIS

Servings: 12 to 16

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs. whole chicken, or 4 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped, divided
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped, divided
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 whole okra, sliced (about 1/2 cup) (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp creole seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 to 4 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 Tbsp minced garlic, or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 lb andouille sausage, chopped
  • 1/2 lb tasso ham (cajun ham), chopped
  • Cooked rice (1/2 cup per serving)
  • Louisiana hot sauce, to taste when serving

Apparatus

  • Pressure cooker, 7 quart
  • Large, heavy stock pot or Dutch oven
  • whisk

Procedure

Mise en place (everything in its place)

  1. Chop all of the veggies. Do this first. You’ll thank me later. Divide the onions into half portions (one for the stock and one for the gumbo). Divide the celery in half as well. Set aside.

Make the chicken stock

  1. Into your pressure cooker, add the carrots and the first portions of onions and celery, along with the salt, seasoning, and bay leaves.
  2. Cut up your chicken and arrange all of it, including the bones, fat and skin, giblets, gizzards, etc., into the pressure cooker on top of the veggies.
  3. Pour in the water, but make sure NOT to go above the “maximum fill” line.
  4. Cover with the lid and lock it down. On the stove top, turn the heat to high and bring up to pressure. When you hear the pressure release whistle, reduce the heat to low, for a steady low hiss. Cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Release the pressure and open the cooker carefully.
  6. Strain the stock into a container to cool. Reserve 3 quarts of stock for the gumbo. (If you have more, save it to cook the rice.) Separate the chicken meat from the bones and set aside.

Make the roux

  1. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat until it begins to shimmer before it reaches its smoke point.
  2. Reduce your heat to medium and carefully whisk in your flour in small batches, which should immediately begin to sizzle. Whisk constantly for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the roux turns a deep brown color, like milk chocolate.
  3. Lower the heat to medium-low and stir in the remaining onions, celery, and bell peppers. Stir occasionally for another 10 minutes, or until the roux thickens and turns a glossy dark brown color, like dark chocolate.

Bring it all together

  1. Into the pot with your roux, still at medium low, add your okra (if using), garlic, and chopped andouille sausage. Stir occasionally and cook until all of the vegetables are soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add your reserved 3 quarts of stock and stir until the roux is well combined with the stock. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally to keep everything well combined.
  3. Now you can add the cooked chicken and the chopped tasso ham to the gumbo and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. Turn off your heat and let your gumbo cool down for at least 5 minutes. This stuff is very hot.
  5. Serve with steamed rice. If you like, add hot sauce to your taste.

DISSECTION

Let’s address the okra first. I love okra, especially fried, but most folks I know can’t stand how gummy it is. That’s what makes it gumbo, though, in my humble opinion. In fact”gumbo” means okra. It does tend to be optional in a chicken and sausage gumbo. It is more common in a seafood gumbo. Okra adds an earthy flavor and extra thickness, for even though we are adding a lot of roux, a dark roux doesn’t thicken gumbo very much. (A light roux will thicken more but has less flavor.) Don’t use “okra season” as a reason to skip it either. You can probably find frozen okra out of season.

If you can’t find tasso ham, you can substitute with smoked ham or regular smoked sausage.

Can you make the stock without a pressure cooker? Sure, but it will need to simmer for at least two hours.

POST-MORTEM

Save your hot sauce until the end. Again, trust me on this. I know cajun and creole foods can be spicy but not everyone can handle it. Also, we’re using andouille sausage and creole seasoning, where various brands have different levels of heat. This is why I suggest adding the hot sauce at the end to your own personal taste in your own bowl. Once you make it often enough and you use brands you are familiar with, feel free to spice things up.

One of my favorite stories about Marie Laveau was that she often made large batches of gumbo and would give bowls of it to condemned prisoners in New Orleans, as well as feeding it to the sick and poor. I don’t know how true this story is, or the tales that mention a few other medicinal herbs which might have made their way into the gumbo, but I do know the power of a good bowl of gumbo and rice to make everything all right with the world.

Advertisements

Morbid Meals – Curse of the Black Pearl Rum Balls

EXAMINATION

Why is the rum gone? I’ll tell ya why, Jack. We be makin’ rum balls this here fine day. I tell ya true, I found this recipe while rummagin’ around ol’ Davy Jones’s locker. He’s a big fan o’rum, so if you’re hittin’ the high seas, bring a batch o’ these rum balls wi’ ya and he might let ya sail on.

ANALYSIS

Servings: about 30

Ingredients

  • 24 Oreo cookies (whole cookies with filling)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 cup black or dark spiced rum
  • 2 Tbsp Tia Maria, Kahlua, or other coffee liqueur
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • Wilton Black Pearl Dust (optional)

Apparatus

  • Food processor with chopping blade
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Small ice cream scoop, melon baller, or a spoon

Procedure

  1. Into your food processor add cookies, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder. Pulse on high until well combined.
  2. Add molasses, rum, and coffee liqueur, then pulse again to mix well.
  3. Add chopped nuts and pulse on low until combined. If you want large chunks of nuts, just do a quick pulse. If you want the nuts ground fine, then pulse until you no longer see the nuts.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl with a lid or cover with plastic wrap. Chill in your refrigerator for about 30 minutes so that it can firm up.
  5. Scoop the chilled mixture into balls and roll between your palms to form a smooth, round ball about an inch wide.
  6. Coat each rum ball with black pearl dust. A little bit goes a long way.
  7. Chill the rum balls in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

DISSECTION

If you don’t have Tia Maria or Kahlua, or don’t like coffee liqueur, you can just use more rum instead. I like Tia Maria because the coffee flavor compliments the chocolate. Sometimes when I make these I use only Tia Maria as it has rum as the base, but the coffee flavor can be too much for some folks.

POST-MORTEM

You can absolutely make these without the Black Pearl Dust. It can be hard to find in stores. Furthermore, the dust… gets… everywhere. You will look like a coal miner when you are finished making these with the pearl dust, and your lips and teeth will get a bit yucky, too. On a positive note, they sure are shiny. And tasty!

Why are the Rum Balls gone? I eats them all, that’s why.

Morbid Meals – Scotch Deviled Eggs

EXAMINATION

I’m a big fan of eggs. I’ll eat them a hundred different ways. Two of my favorites have to be good ol’ deviled eggs, perfect at a picnic, and the pub grub staple called a scotch egg. It struck me once upon a time that it might be quite tasty to make a hybrid of the two: a scotch deviled egg. Man, I love it when I’m right. When I was pondering this episode’s curse, that being “oddball curses”, I thought also that the scotch deviled egg is a very “odd ball” indeed. Thus, allow me to present this clever cursed canapé.

ANALYSIS

Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 package (19 oz) bratwurst sausage links
  • 7 large eggs; 6 to boil, 1 for egg wash
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp real mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp pickle juice (optional)
  • hot sauce, to taste (optional)
  • paprika, for garnish (I prefer smoked paprika)

Apparatus

  • Saucepan with a lid
  • slotted spoon
  • three medium bowls
  • Cookie sheet with Parchment paper
    • or a Roasting pan
  • mixing bowl

Procedure

  1. Hard boil six eggs: Put eggs into a pan of cold water and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Let the eggs cook for 9 to 10 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice-cold water. Let the eggs cool down for about 15 minutes to make them easier to peel.
  3. Once the eggs have cooled, carefully peel them.
  4. Open your package of brats and remove the sausage from their casings. Shape into six thin sausage patties.
  5. Take a peeled hard-boiled egg and wrap it completely in the sausage. Repeat for each egg.
  6. Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.
  7. Set up a breading station with three bowls: one for the flour, one for a beaten egg, and one for the breadcrumbs.
  8. For each sausage-encased egg, roll it in the flour, coating evenly. Dip in the beaten egg wash. Then roll in breadcrumbs and set aside.
  9. For baking, use either a cookie sheet lined with a sheet of parchment paper, to soak up the grease, or use a roasting pan, which is a drip pan with a wire rack on it. This will allow the grease to drip away from the scotch eggs.
  10. Evenly space out your breaded sausage and egg balls on your cookie sheet or roasting pan.
  11. Bake at 400°F for 25 to 30 minutes. The goal is to make sure that the sausage is cooked completely. It should be nice and brown with no pink.
  12. Remove the scotch eggs from the oven and allow them to cool and rest on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any grease.
  13. Cut the scotch eggs in half and remove the yolks to a mixing bowl. Set the scotch egg halves aside.
  14. Mash the egg yolks with a fork. Add the mustard, mayonnaise, pickle juice and hot sauce. Mix well until thick and smooth.
  15. Spoon the deviled yolk mixture back into the scotch egg halves. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

DISSECTION

Many folks know how to boil eggs, but I provide a brief overview above of how I cook them which is not the usual grandmother-tested method. I found this article with video from TheKitchn.com which I find works out well. Many scotch egg recipes tell you to under cook because the eggs will be cooked again. Since we are making deviled eggs, if they are a little over cooked, it is OK. I have found that 9 minutes using this off-the-heat method makes a nice creamy but firm egg yolk after all the rest of the cooking is done.

I prefer to bake mine vs. frying them as is traditional. When they are baked they are a) somewhat healthier and b) definitely less of a mess. If you would prefer to fry yours, try this:
Heat your oil in a deep fat fryer or deep pan to about 300ºF. Fry the scotch eggs until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool and rest. Then devil the yolks as described above.

POST-MORTEM

My goodness, these may be odd but they are so good. The bratwurst sausage brings just the right flavor to the eggs, mild and meaty. However, feel free to use whatever sausage you prefer. A hot Italian sausage would go well with these.

By the way, allow me to shatter your illusions. Scotch eggs are not Scottish, though I’m sure they are eaten there on occasion. No, scotch in this case is short for “scotched” which describes mincing meat, such as the sausage that encases the egg.

Morbid Meals Holidaze – Eating Your Way Through the Zpoc

 

The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with family and friends, but it is also a time of chaos. Imagine what would happen if during all of the holiday’s sales a zombie apocalypse occurred? That would be a very Black Friday, indeed. Surviving the Zpoc would be a whole new level of Holidaze. The thought of Pumpkin Spice Zombies frightens me more than anything.

When dealing with zombies and other apocalypses, one thing that I find is often missing is a discussion of keeping yourself fed. Sure, weapons and shelter are important. Fighting off hunger and thirst is crucial however to keep fighting off the undead hordes.

Thankfully, at this wonderful time of the year, we now have two excellent cookbooks and survival guides catering to the zombie apocalypse. It might come as a surprise that they were both written by the same author. The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide just came out this October. The same author, Lauren Wilson, also wrote The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide in 2014, which I lovingly call the Zpoc Cookbook.

Both are reliable resources that read like experienced prepper’s guides. Both have thorough chapters on improving our survival skills. They aren’t gimmicks, either. I think even the Boys and Girls Scouts would learn a thing or two. Les Stroud would be proud.

The included recipes differ dramatically, however. The Walking Dead Cookbook’s recipes are inspired primarily by characters and locations from the series. (Like Carl’s Chocolate Pudding or The Kingdom’s Breakfast Cobbler.) The Zpoc Cookbook, however, has more relatable recipes but with the usual campy names. (Like The Wok-ing Dead Stir-Fry and Wasteland Cupcakes.)

In many ways, the TWD Cookbook is an updated version of the Zpoc Cookbook. The chapter structure is a bit more organized and it simplifies a few concepts. It is also, of course, packed full of references to the characters of the TV show.

One thing that the TWD cookbook has that the other lacks is a whole chapter on alcoholic beverages. The Zpoc Cookbook does have a recipe for a mead, which would be excellent for barter, but that’s it. Conspicuously absent from both is a classic Zombie recipe, though TWD has a killer drink called The Walker which looks tasty. TWD also describes how to make mead. I think they both missed the opportunity for more instructions on how to make other boozes.

For example, I was at first excited to see the recipe for Cherry Moonshine in the TWD, but this is actually just how to take Everclear and fortify it with cherry syrup. Tasty for other cocktails, true, but learning basic distillation, like say to make applejack, would be a useful skill. (Yes, distillation is still illegal in most places, but during the apocalypse, I think prohibition is going to be the least of anyone’s worries.) Distilling alcohol can be useful as a way to make fuel as well, which will be handy in a post-apocalyptic gas shortage. For that matter, distilling water would be a vital skill, but while the Zpoc briefly mentions a solar still, the TWD only discussed boiling and filtration.

While both books do cover fishing and hunting and recipes for such wild game that you might catch (each has a squirrel recipe, for example), neither cookbook heavily features recipes using the food you have foraged, grown, or preserved yourself. There was one recipe in TWD Cookbook for chocolate chunk cookies that does make use of applesauce, and later provides a recipe for making and preserving your own applesauce for stocking up during harvest season. However, the majority of the recipes assume you have a decently stocked pantry and icebox and that you are willing to use your rations. For example, I think you’d be hard-pressed to sacrifice eggs and milk to make a homemade batch of chocolate pudding rather than stock up on canned chocolate pudding. I’m sure Carl would understand.

I was pleasantly surprised that neither cookbook resorts to parody recipes or kitschy Halloween gimmicks, and thank goodness for no recipes featuring brains or “long pig”. If you would like that kind of thing, you can find my take on The Walking Dead Terminus Tavern “Human Burger” recipe here on Horror Addicts to try. But I digress.

The Walking Dead Cookbook is an excellent coffee table cookbook. The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse is a standard paperback size which would be more practical in a Bug-Out-Bag. They would both be fun gifts this holiday season. Really the question is are you a fan of The Walking Dead or a zombie fan in general? I think The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse may be the better resource, and it is less expensive if that matters. Both books have Kindle versions available. If you can’t decide, you can always buy both, like I did.

As Lauren says in The Walking Dead Cookbook, “Living or dead, there’s one thing that unites us all—hunger.” During the zombie apocalypse, holiday gatherings with your family, friends, and fellow survivors will mean more than ever.

Morbid Meals – Tribute to The Stuff

MorbidMeals2

EXAMINATION

About the only thing we know about The Stuff is that “enough is never enough”. It was discovered oozing up from the ground at a petroleum chemical plant in the 80’s and it was very tasty, addictive, and mind-altering, all before it eventually caused consumers to explode. We sent in a crazy corporate spy to find out the formula, but he was unsuccessful. So, here’s my attempt using all natural ingredients.

thestuff

ANALYSIS

Yield: about 1 1/2 pints

Ingredients

12 oz cream cheese, softened
10 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract or other clear flavoring (optional)

Apparatus

  • Mixing bowl
  • Stand mixer or hand mixer

Procedure

  1. In the mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Mix in the condensed milk, a little at a time, to keep the mixture smooth with no clumps.
  3. Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix until velvety smooth.
  4. Pour into serving containers and let it set in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.

DISSECTION

Feel free to add any flavor extract you like to amp up the flavor, just be sure it is clear so that The Stuff stays pristine white.

POST-MORTEM

The Stuff will stay fresh in the fridge for less than a week. After that, well, it might try to come find you.

Some of you may have noticed, this is really the filling for a basic no-bake cheesecake. Here’s some ideas for crusts. Prepare your crust, pour in The Stuff, and chill in your fridge for at least two hours. Top with cherries or whatever you fancy.

You can also make delightful parfaits with alternating layers of fruit, The Stuff, and some crumbled cookies (or graham crackers).

Also, this makes an amazing ice cream base and you don’t even have to churn it (though you can if you have an ice cream churn.) Just pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze overnight. So good!

Really, the options are endless. Remember, “enough is never enough”!

Morbid Meals – Tribute to Motel Hell – Farmer Vincent’s Fritters

MorbidMeals2

EXAMINATION

Fritters are a great way to use up some of the leftover meats you have from previous meals, or from any stash you might have lying around. Farmer Vincent’s Fritters were very special indeed, as he used some of his famous smoked meats. Don’t bother asking what kind of meats they were, however. His slogan was “it takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s Fritters.” If you do ever venture down to try his fritters, I would recommend not staying at the nearby MOTEL HELLO. In fact, it is probably much safer all around to make these yourself.

fritters

ANALYSIS

Yield: 8 to 10 fritters

Ingredients

Filling
1 1/2 lb cooked and shredded meats of your choice
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
4 strips of bacon
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped, or 1 tsp onion powder
2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Batter
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup milk or water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste

Oil for frying

Apparatus

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Frying pan or skillet

DISSECTION

There are basically two ways to make fritters. One is to mix the meat filling into the batter and fry them like griddlecakes. The other is to make patties or balls then dip them in batter and deep fry. I provide directions for both below.

Procedure

To prepare the filling
  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss together your cooked meats, paprika, cumin, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, fry your bacon strips until they are crispy as you like them. Set the bacon strips aside to cool and dry on a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. In the rendered bacon fat, sauté the chopped onions and garlic. When the onions are translucent, pour the onions, garlic, and grease into the meat mixture. Crumble the bacon into bits and add to the meat mixture. Mix well to incorporate.
To make the batter
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat two large eggs, add the milk (or water), and then whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper. Whisk together until you have a batter with no lumps.
To make the fritter-cakes
  1. If you prefer the griddle cake method, then into your skillet, back over medium heat, add about 2 Tbsp of oil to provide a thick layer of oil to pan fry. Allow this to heat up.
  2. Pour in some of your batter into your meat mixture bowl and mix thoroughly. You may not need all of the batter. The mixture should bind well and maybe be a little loose.
  3. With a large spoon or ladle, measure out enough meat-batter mixture for two cakes. (You can do more if you have room in your skillet or make smaller cakes.) Fry the fritters until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Set the cooked fritters aside to cool and dry on a paper towel-lined plate.
OR – To make the patties for deep-frying
  1. If you prefer the deep fry method, then into your skillet, over medium-high heat, add enough oil to provide at least an inch of oil to fry in. Allow this to heat up to about 325°F.
  2. Divide your meat mixture evenly into either into balls or patties. Some meats don’t form one or the other easily, so this will be a matter of experimentation. By using cooked meats, however, you don’t have to worry about under-cooked food if they are too thick.
  3. With a sturdy pair of tongs (or with your hands if you must), dip your meat into the batter and then gently place into the hot oil.
  4. Cook each fritter until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
  5. Set the cooked fritters aside to cool and dry on a paper towel-lined plate.

POST-MORTEM

I like fritters made both ways, and I know this is also a regional thing to prefer one method over the other. Personally, I prefer eating the deep fried patties but they tend to make a bigger mess in my kitchen. Your mileage may vary.

As for serving, the patties or fritter-cakes go well with mashed potatoes and gravy or make excellent sandwiches. The fritter balls are fantastic with honey mustard or sweet-and-sour sauce.

Morbid Meals – Tribute to Se7en – Spaghetti alla Carbonara

MorbidMeals2

EXAMINATION

It would be a deadly sin to stuff your face with box pasta and canned sauce. Or worse—canned spaghetti—like that poor bastard in the thriller, Se7en. Besides, I think we’ve had enough tomato recipes for now.

What I love about Carbonara is that I can avoid the usual acidic tomato sauces and also not go down the Alfredo route that can give lactose-intolerant folks grief. Like most Italian dishes, there are many ways to prepare this dish. Carbonara is an Italian-American creation dating back to WWII, and as such, recipes vary wildly. This recipe makes the preparation a great deal simpler than the “traditional” method but it is still delicious and different than the usual pasta night.

Spaghetti Carbonara

ANALYSIS

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 lb spaghetti, cooked – reserve 1/4 cup of the water
3 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb pancetta or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or 1/2 tsp of garlic powder)
black pepper, freshly ground

Apparatus

  • Mixing bowl
  • Large Saucepan
  • Colander / strainer

Procedure

  1. Cook your spaghetti by the directions on the package. Do NOT strain immediately. Take the pot off the heat but keep the pasta hot in the water while you prepare your sauce.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat your eggs and parmesan cheese together well, breaking up any lumps of cheese. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta/bacon and sauté to render the fat and make the bacon a little crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic; if you are using chopped garlic, sauté until the garlic is soft, about a minute. Remove your saucepan from the heat.
  4. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the rest from your pasta and add the noodles to your saucepan, tossing together to evenly coat all of the noodles.
  5. Pour your egg and cheese mixture over the pasta in the saucepan and toss it all together, allowing the eggs to thicken without scrambling. Add a little bit of water as needed to melt the cheese into a velvety smooth consistency.
  6. Season with the black pepper, from a pepper mill if you have one.
  7. Serve the pasta with a side dish of extra cheese to sprinkle on as desired.

DISSECTION

I was worried when I mixed the cheese in with the eggs as it made a thick paste at first. However, once the water was added later, it smoothed out into a rich, luscious sauce.

POST-MORTEM

We will make this many times over. The kids loved the sauce. I was afraid they would turn their noses up at the eggs, but the sauce does not taste of eggs. All you taste is Parmesan and bacon. So basically heaven on pasta.