My husband tells our girls that they should have a signature dish, one that will “seal the deal.” My signature dish originates in Italy, although I didn’t know about it until the mid-seventies when I spent almost a year backpacking around Europe between my junior and senior years in college.
The woman I was traveling with and I met two young Italian men with whom we went to dinner. I have no idea what anyone else had, but I had spaghetti carbonara, a bacon, egg, and Parmesan dish with humble origins. There are apparently more than one theories as to where the dish originated, all seem to include the premise that the ingredients were both inexpensive and easily available. Although the evening in Italy ended very oddly, the taste of that dish remained a stellar memory.
When I returned to the US, I found a recipe in a small, wire-bound Time-Life Italian cookbook. I’ve tweaked it a bit, tried Canadian bacon to lower the fat content, and decided that when making it, I might as well go all out and enjoy the wonderful taste, just not every day. It’s a dish many people have never tasted but that no one I’ve made it for has ever not liked. It may not have “sealed the deal” with my husband, but it’s definitely a family favorite, along with my homemade mac-and-cheese and homemade ravioli. Hmmm. Seems like an Italian theme in my mostly German family
Here’s the recipe. But what I’d like to know is what’s your signature dish? What does your family ask for over and over? What do you make for company? If you can, without violating copyright laws, I’d love it if you’d include the recipe in your comment or a link to the recipe you use.
1 lb. spaghetti or linguini
3 T. butter, mashed & softened
5-6 pieces of bacon, either diced and fried or fried and crumbled
3 eggs, beaten
½+ Parmesan or a Parm.-Romano combination
Salt & pepper to taste
Cook pasta. In the meantime, fry bacon and drain of all but a small amount of grease. Combine beaten eggs and cheese. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add bacon, then egg-cheese mix. Add salt and pepper, turn heat to low and stir until eggs are slightly set. If you like, add more cheese. Serve immediately.
In the original recipe, I was told to heat the serving bowl, put the cooked spaghetti in the bowl, add everything else, toss, and the eggs would cook just enough. I find that doesn’t really cook the eggs enough for me; hence, the cooking lightly in the pot. I also found that even though it seems a non-stick pot would work wonderfully for this, a regular pot works best. No idea why, but my whole family agrees.