Luxurious Carbonara

In my last semester of culinary school, I suddenly found I had the confidence to take on recipes I had only drooled over before. Prior to my education, words like aioli and carbonara would've put me into a culinary coma.

No longer. Having looked at recipe after recipe in my classes, it has become second nature to really see what the recipe is asking for. Most of them have components, which, when placed together, create a symphony of flavors that blaze your feasting senses.

When it comes down to choosing the recipe to make for dinner, I generally stick to a few rules. First off, the length of the ingredients list can make or break your meal. I know after a full day of classes, the last thing I want to do is to get out a bunch of ingredients from my fridge and pantry and take maybe a tablespoon or less of each and have to put it all back. Obnoxious. Who says you need innumerable ingredients to make a dish superb? No one, I say! Therefore, when it comes down to the ingredient list, try to stick with recipes that have 10 or less ingredients per component. It will absolutely save you from several headaches down the line. The component distinction is also crucial, which brings me to my second rule:

Components are separate items that can be combined together to complete a dish. I don't usually include garnishes as a component because, really, in most recipes they can be omitted without any discernible loss of quality in the dish. Components can include creating your own marinara sauce (one component), to use with chicken parmesan (which is another component). If you choose to have a vegetable with that dish (and you should!) it would be another component. For this completed dish, you have three main components that go into preparing it. My second rule involves using less than 4 components per completed dish. Is this really important? you ask. It depends. If you're brave enough to handle more than 4, I applaud you. I, on the other hand, am not. Or, at least, I wasn't before I went to culinary school. It's just a lot to take on for one meal, especially after we have been working all day, no?

Final rule is: if it doesn't have a photo, RUN AWAY! Ok, so maybe that's a little overkill, but think about it. You have to have a measuring stick so that your completed meal doesn't look a mess. Its nice to have a guideline, ESPECIALLY if it's your first time making it.

So, as usual, this is where I place my suggestion for your next meal. Trust me when I say that I would not put this up if I didn't think it fell in the "do-able" category. Capiche? I also never put up a recipe that I haven't tried myself. Ok. Now get cooking!


Here is the link to Giada's Carbonara recipe. In it, you will find there are three main components to this dish. The first is the basil aioli. Aioli is basically a garlic-mayonnaise, so don't wig out on me. It's not scary, I promise. At least, its not scary if you have a food processor. Don't have one? Get one. The second component could be considered two components, but since they are both cooked in the same pot, I am going to lump them together into one. This is the asparagus and the linguine, which are cooked one after the other in a pot of boiling salted water. The third component is the fried egg on top of the dish. The recipe without the egg is already over-the-top, but the fried egg adds a certain level of...bam? You can omit it, but doesn't it look pretty??

When you make the aioli, be sure to taste it after processing because you want to check for seasoning and acidity (from the lemon juice) BEFORE tossing it into the cooked pasta. I found that I was missing the garlic and some lemon from my aioli, so I adjusted it according to what I felt it needed. Start with the baseline, then taste and adjust. Don't go overboard with the basil, either. Follow the recipe, then test it out before making additions. Also, don't freak out on me because the recipe has raw egg yolks in it. As soon as you add the aioli to the hot pasta the yolks will no longer be raw. If you're still worried about it, place your aioli in a heat proof bowl over a double boiler and warm until hot. Do this slowly or you will scramble the mixture. Then add it to the pasta.

Let me know what you thought of the recipe, and send me your favorite component recipes to try. Photos appreciated!!

To love, to food, l'chaim!



  1. Great article. I like the way you can catch and keep my attention throughout the article. Keep up the good work my dear, you were born to be a writer.

  2. Thanks friend! I appreciate that! And I hope you can get a chance to try out some of the recipes I've posted on here. Most of them are fool proof, and I wouldn't post them unless I had a strong feeling other people can pull it off. I mean if I can do it, then everyone else should have a super easy time doing it.


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