So you’ve decided to have a few friends over for a mid-week Italian supper. Great! Pick out a nice bottle of wine, some bread from your favorite bakery and toss a simple salad. All easy stuff. However; a true Ragù Bolognese takes time. Do you leave work early? Not necessarily. This Ragù Bolognese can be cooked up on a Sunday, to be served up on a Wednesday without diluting the rich flavor. If anything, a delay between cooking and eating only increases the elevation of savory goodness.
Panchetta is Italian Bacon, of sorts. Both American Bacon and Italian Pancetta are pork, usually from the pork belly section. Typically both have been cured (while some bacon is sold uncured). Bacon is cured in salt, either in a brine or packed in salt. It is then aged by drying the meat, be it dried in cold air for weeks or even months, or smoked (my favorite kind of bacon). Pancetta can also be cured in simple salt, but seasonings and other aromatics are often added to the curing process to infuse Pancetta with its distinctly Italian flavors. While this recipe can be made using Bacon, depending upon the type of bacon, the flavor will vary.
For those of you not familiar with Carbonara, this is a pasta dish that hails from Rome, Italy. It is traditionally made using eggs, Italian Cheeses (Romano or Parmesan or other fine Italian cheese) and Pancetta (Italian Bacon) that is tossed in a Spaghetti Pasta. The more modern renditions use Fettuccine, my preferred pasta. If you were to order this dish in Italy, cream and garlic would not be a part of the recipe, but outside Italy these ingredients have been incorporated to create a creamy, flavorful “sauce”. As a lover of all things containing creams and garlic, my Carbonara includes these non-traditional ingredients. Some people have even taken to adding peas or broccoli to their Carbonara. Personally, I don’t if for no other reason that I want to stay as close to the traditional dish of Rome while still satisfying my desire for cream and garlic. But hey, that’s just me.