Monday, April 24, 2006

I made spaghetti carbonara this weekend- Mark Bittman's recipe, which I have made before with glorious (and easy) success. This time, however, the egg and cheese mixture just... didn't do much. It cooked, but it didn't coat the spaghetti with the rich sauce I am used to. It was more of a pasta-slick. I don't know what went wrong- was my egg too old? All I know is it was a major disappointment, and when eggs and bacon disappoint, you know something is off.

To make up for it, I also made Marcella's fettucine alfredo, which was possibly even easier and about a bijillion times better. (And I have also suddenly developed a taste for pasta- who knew?) The fettucine came out perfectly and really lightly sauced, and I added some sage leaves in with the butter (which I melted first before adding the cream, crisping the sage leaves just a bit). So I guess it was more of a browned- butter sage cream sauce than alfredo, but it was also divine.

I hate to criticize Bittman ever, since he is usually so foolproof- it must have been the egg. His pancake recipe, at least, is no-fail. This weekend I omitted the optional melted butter from the batter and the pancakes came out both crisper and fluffier. I had no idea anything could be improved by REMOVING butter.

Okay, so we don't eat all butter all the time. We also had a pinto bean soup from another foolproof cookbook (a soup Jeff really, really didn't want to try. "I don't like beans." "But you like refried beans. And black beans. And baked beans. And..." "But...") and it was both super healthy (no fat besides a smidge of canola oil, fortified with chicken stock) and rich and filling. In fact, without the chicken stock, it'd made a decent refried bean substitute. With the chicken stock (and some grated cheddar and sour cream) it made an excellent light supper.