We were at the farmers market asking around everywhere for chorizo. A few weeks earlier we attended a dinner to celebrate the engagement of two of our friends. They showed us a really neat Portuguese cooking method that involves setting alcohol on fire in a ceramic pig.
How cool is that? As you can imagine I had to have one. I got the pig but the chorizo was no where to be found. I asked everywhere but the closest thing I could find was andouille. I wasn’t sure if I would torch it (authenticity and all) but I knew I’d find something interesting to do with it in any case.
Carbonara is one of those things I crave every so often. What’s not to love about it? Creamy, cheesy, smoked cured meat….delicious. It was late on a lazy Saturday night and we had guests. We were all hungry for something comforting and rich. I was also hoping it would be easy and quick.
I opened the fridge and stood there for a few minutes, thinking through the logistics of the different things I could make. I thought about pasta. I saw the andouille. That was that. The chives add a fresh counterpoint to the smokiness and flavour of the andouille. If you use andouille, look for a natural one without nitrites or preservatives like this andouille by Neto’s. You could use any sausage you have on hand like Spanish chorizo, Polish kabanosy, or even grassfed German Landjaeger. This makes about four average sized servings (or two enormous ones).
About 1/2 TBSP olive oil for sautéing
1/2 kg / 1 lb andouille (or other smoked sausage)
150 grams / 5.5 oz grated pecorino romano or parmigiano (you could also use gruyère in a pinch)
Salt to taste
Drizzle of olive oil for pasta
Freshly cracked black pepper and chopped chives for garnish
Boil pasta, al dente is preferable. The time depends on the type of pasta so check the package directions. Generously salt the water so it tastes like the ocean.
Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. While heating, cut the sausage into thin slices.
Pan fry the sausage until browned and crispy (or to your liking).
While sausage is frying, crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk. Add the cheese and mix until incorporated.
When pasta is finished cooking, drain it reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Return the drained pasta in the skillet with the andouille and add the cooking liquid. Increase heat and agitate pan to keep things moving. You want to get it hot.
Once hot, remove from heat and pour into the egg mixture while whisking quickly and consistently until the eggs thicken. The residual heat from the pasta and sausage will cook the eggs. Pouring the hot ingredients over the eggs and working quickly will prevent scrambling the eggs. It should be salty enough from the pasta water and sausage but taste and adjust to your preferences.
Garnish with fresh cracked black pepper and chives.