Buonissimo! Finger-licking buonissimo is what you’ll be raving into next Tuesday if you step out on a limb and venture to make this crowd-pleasing pasta. Just don’t tell your squeamish friends it’s made with duck eggs until after the first bite. As is often the case with my culinary endeavors, I headed down to Pike Place Market to get some inspiration for what would be seasonally-appropriate to make for a fun dinner for five yesterday. It could not be a better time of year to be at the market- every fruit stall is simply bursting over with bounty and the crisp autumn colors have us here at the Salty Seattle household all in a swoon.
It was one of those days where just about everything I saw wanted to come home with me, from unnecessary gadgetry like a melon-balling set at Kitchen Basics to the absolutely gorgeous duck eggs from the Pike Place Market Creamery. By the end of my unhinged spree, I wondered what on earth I would sort out for dinner from my unlikely mélange- definitely an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of a journey.
Since it was really a beautiful day, we decided to walk a few blocks down First Ave to the new coffee shop/wine bar at the base of the Four Seasons called Fonte. Coffee-shopping used to work out really well for Jonas and I in Torino, as he always feels like a midday espresso and I always feel like a midday prosecco. It’s a little harder in coffee-addled Seattle to find a decent glass of bubbly alongside a pull of Lavazza, but we’ve sussed out a few outposts. I figured I should order rosé instead of my usual prosecco since it really is the final days of summertime and I had better take advantage. Plus, rosé always does a great job of clearing my head, which is what I needed in order to bring cohesion to all my purchases and somehow turn them into dinner.
Just as I was attempting to construct a soufflé of figs, pistachios and asparagus in my mind, (that way the duck eggs could be put to good use since they’re extra stiff when beaten) I had an epiphany- THAT SOUNDS DISGUSTING!! Thank goodness too, because I don’t think I’d be writing this entry if I had concocted something as atrocious as that. No, better to separate the ingredients into the families they belong with, which translates to figs and pistachios getting shelved for another day soon, and asparagus and duck eggs forming the basis for a pasta- totally do-able.
I used my newfound clarity to head back to DeLaurenti at the market for some pancetta, the only ingredient missing from the crazy carbonara I anticipated constructing. Try as I might, I (wisely , methinks) really could not justify throwing lamb shoulder chops into carbonara, so I whipped up a dried-plum rosemary rub for the chops while I ruminated on the best way to pull the pasta together. I had brought home some lovely double cream from the Creamery and really wanted to use it, but a true carbonara should really get it’s saucy appeal from the eggs and cheese, and in the end I didn’t feel like cheating with the cream, because I would have had to come up with another name for the dish- basically a glorified duck-egg alfredo. Since I had a triumvirate of vegetables- corn, asparagus and small carrots- I needed to come up with a system of adding them to the mix without one become more done than the other. This is why it’s important to separate the vegetables into the categories suggested by the recipe when you’re adding them. I suppose I’ll wrap up my tale of market carbonara madness and leave you to enjoy the final result. Please leave a comment if you have any questions or problems with sourcing and I’ll attempt to steer you in the right direction.
Carbonara di Uova di Anatra con Verdure
Note: For a fairly comprehensive list of great creameries across the country who likely carry duck eggs check this out. In Seattle the go-to source for duck eggs is the Pike Place Market Creamery- by far the best in town, with great service and an amazingly esoteric selection. If you cannot find duck eggs, substitute regular eggs, or get a little crazy and try quail eggs- but use 10 for every 3 duck eggs called for.
- 3 ears sweet corn de-cobbed
- 1 bunch baby carrots, peeled
- 1 bunch asparagus tough ends removed, chopped into 1” pieces, tips kept separate
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 lb pancetta chopped fine (to make pancetta easier to chop, freeze for 10 min)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1.1 lb pappardelle rigate pasta (I use Rustichella d’ Abruzzo)
- 2 oz grated parmigiano reggiano
- 1 oz grated asiago
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and chopped fine
- 3 duck eggs
- Heat oven to 200°. Warm a large serving bowl in oven so when you assemble the pasta elements in the bowl, they heat through.
- Fill a large stockpot with a strainer insert with enough water to come up 3” above bottom of strainer. Boil over high heat. Add baby carrots, cook for one minute. Add asparagus pieces (not tips), cook for one minute. Add asparagus tips and corn, cook for one additional minute. Remove vegetables from stockpot by pulling out strainer insert, but leave vegetable water in stockpot to boil pasta (this imparts a nice flavor on your noodles). Run cold water over vegetables to stop cooking.
- Heat olive oil in 12” sauté pan. Add chopped pancetta and fry until crisp- about 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer until slightly reduced, about 6 minutes.
- Meanwhile, return stockpot with vegetable water to boil. Add noodles and cook until al dente.
- Combine cheeses, garlic and duck eggs in medium bowl with a fork.
- Place vegetables in pancetta and wine sauté pan and stir to combine and heat- about 1 minute.
- Remove serving bowl from oven and add cooked pasta. Pour pancetta-vegetable mixture over it, as well as egg mixture. Stir to cook and combine fully. Serve immediately.