Carbonara is a traditional Italian pasta dish comprised of eggs, cheese, pancetta, and black pepper. Spaghetti is typically used as the pasta, but fettuccine, rigatoni, or bucatini can also be used. This brawny Roman dish was created in the middle of the 20th century. Sweet corn pairs well with the peppery arugula.
- 6 slices pancetta or bacon, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups sweet corn
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 12 ounces pasta
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan
- 5 ounces baby arugula
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta, onion, garlic, and corn. Cook until the onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss the pasta with the egg mixture, onion mixture, arugula, and ½ cup of the pasta water until the greens wilt. Thin the sauce with more pasta water if desired. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pair this with a bottle of 2010 Barbera from Biale Vineyards located in Napa, California. This Italian varietal is focused and dangerous. Ripe black fruits and lingonberries, with a hint of dry straw. Lots of mid-palate fruit offers a fresh, snappy finish.
Movie Night suggestion: Something with swords, sandals, and brawn. When a Roman general (Russell Crowe) is betrayed and his family killed by an emperor’s corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek bloody revenge in Gladiator (2000). Winner of 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Director Ridley Scott (ooooh, the magic words) unleashes a fury of flair supreme and achieves a superb balance of action and emotion.
Film notes: The wounds on Crowe’s face after the opening battle scene are real. His horse startled and backed him into a bunch of tree branches. The stitches in his cheek are perfectly visible when he is telling Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) he intends to return home. During filming, Crowe also broke bones in his foot and his hip.
Maximus’ description of his home (specifically how the kitchen is arranged and smells) was ad-libbed – it’s actually an accurate description of Crowe’s own home in Australia.
Maximus’s companion is his pet wolf, played in the film by a German Shepherd. The production was unable to use real wolves due to England’s strict anti-rabies laws. The crew was prevented from importing any animals.
Joaquin Phoenix got so over-the-top involved in the scene where Commodus kills off his father that he actually fainted afterward (he was acting so hard).
You can have your vengeance, just make sure you eat first. Cin cin!