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Foodie post #2: Mezzo Secco cheese and an amazing pasta recipe. Posted on 09/29/2002.

At customer appreciation day at the Piedmont Grocery, I was turned onto a local artisan cheese, Mezzo Secco. It's an amazing cheese, tangy and delightful. In-store, a five-star chef and representative of California artisan cheeses (and rapid left-winger) was preparing a pasta dish with the cheese, and gave us all this recipe, transcribed by Stacy, with her comments. My friends Trav and Jenny cooked it up a couple nights ago, and it was a treat. Here it is:

Pasta Carbonara
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves (it doesn't say to chop or not, probably mince it)
A pinch red pepper flakes (you have these on the stove)
2 slices bacon or pancetta (needs to be chopped up)
4 oz. greens, trimmed and washed (this is optional, really)
salt and pepper to taste (fresh ground pepper is gooood in this)
fresh herbs to taste (or dried, if you like, but not essential. basil would be best, and parsley)
1lb spaghetti (I like linguini in carbonara better, myself (And we used fettucine, and it was fine)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (hit with stick)
3 oz. grated firm cheese (you could even mix parmesan and mezzo secco, and how much is 3oz anyway? Not enough!! actually, 3oz is plenty, and what the chef taught us is that it's just as good, if not better, to simply hand-crumble the cheese--allowing cheese bits to remain unmelted and oh so tasty)

1. Sweat the garlic in the oil without browning (medium heat on stove)
2. When garlic is soft, add the pepper flakes and cook for a minute. Add the meat and cook for a few minutes more.
3. Add the greens, cook until wilted. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs.
4. Meanwhile, bring ample amounts of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, only STOP 2 MINUTES EARLY. Remove 1/2 cup of the pasta liquid and reserve before draining pasta.
5. Add the pasta and reserved water to the pan with the other stuff, and cook over medium heat until the water is absorbed and the pasta is coated with stuff. (This stuff with the pasta water is essential. It allows the sauce to better stick to the pasta. It's a real treat.)
6. Add the egg, take off the heat and toss until the egg cooks (no longer slimy, little white bits adhering to pasta), then fold in the cheeese.
7. Eat eat eat. Yum yum yum.

And there you have it. It was *so good.*

5 comments so far. Add a comment.

Previous entry: "Foodie post #1. Piedmont Grocery."
Next entry: "Foodie post #3. Jeremiah's Pick Coffee."


oh, man, spaghetti carbonara is soo good! eggs, bacon, (I usually have onion in there), cheese, pasta -- how could it go wrong? I would use more bacon than that, though.
Posted by Anita Rowland @ 09/30/2002 07:55 AM PST [link to this comment]

Did you forget the step where you drain the bacon grease off? Oh, wait, of course not. :)

I love carbonara. This sounds fantastic. What did you drink with it?
Posted by veen @ 09/30/2002 01:08 PM PST [link to this comment]

What's a rapid left-winger? Do they spew leftist invective at an unprecedented speed and pitch?
Posted by hm? @ 10/03/2002 10:12 AM PST [link to this comment]

I came, I saw, I ran out and tried it. Delicious. Fairly easy, aside from the marketing. Can't get Mezzo Secco on this coast, but it seems there are good Italian substitutes.

I didn't know you cooked. Who else in the Web world? We should have a web cooking event.
Posted by Mark Bernstein @ 10/05/2002 06:45 AM PST [link to this comment]

It's basically a western omelet with pasta. Love it. If it weren't 2,000 calories to the serving, I'd make it every week.

My mother ended up with my father partly because he made for her spaghetti of the coal miners, as I've blogged here. It was a match made in egg sauce.
Posted by Luke Seemann @ 10/14/2002 07:26 PM PST [link to this comment]

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