Of Confidence and Carbonara

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 65 comments

Spaghetti alla carbonara with asparagus & lamb bacon

"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor."
-- Truman Capote

Fear of failure.

It is the hidden poison in the cook's psychological pantry. Like salt, mistaken for sugar, that takes a cake from delicious to disastrous, or high humidity that can leave graceful macarons flat-footed, the tiniest pinch of trepidation can ruin a perfectly fine recipe. Whereas confidence and fearlessness heighten the joy of cooking, fear of failure weighs it down like an anchor on a balloon. I should know.

When it comes to cooking, I showed enough promise in my early teen years that my mother entrusted some of the family dinner preparation to me. With only her rudimentary instructions and the natural confidence of youth, I quickly established my specialties: flavorful baked chicken, super-creamy scalloped potatoes and my crowning glory, spaghetti alla carbonara. I don't recall if it was Mama who showed me how to make this simple rich pasta, but it was my favorite recipe to show off my nascent culinary skills. Unfortunately, it was also the dish which taught me that self-confidence in cookery is as fragile as an eggshell; it is a lesson indelibly recorded in my memory.

[Play]

The scene: a small apartment kitchen - daytime.

The players: Four giggly teen girls, preparing a 'fancy' lunch for themselves, each busy with her own preparation but all the while chatting away. Girl TN is confident friends will be so impressed by her spaghetti alla carbonara.

The action: Girl TN neglects rule #1 of boiling pasta and dumps noodles into pot of cold water. Then she neglects rule #2 of boiling pasta and doesn't stir on occasion. Noodles settle to bottom, stick to each and burn. Girl TN attempts to salvage disaster but it is hopeless. Deeply embarrassed, she serves sticky noodles permeated with essence of char that no amount of bacon or parmesan cheese can mask. Cooking confidence crushed, Girl TN never makes spaghetti alla carbonara again.

[Stop. Rewind]

Battered and Deep-fried Pride

Next to plain buttered noodles, carbonara is perhaps the most simple pasta dish to make, yet I managed to screw up - in front of my peers, no less, whose opinions mattered most at that age. It didn't occur to me that this failure would make me doubt my aptitude in the kitchen for years and how that loss of confidence consequently affected my attitude toward new cooking experiences. But according to psychologist and author Jonathon Brown, my battered pride would set the stage for a timid approach to future culinary challenges. In a 1995 study on self-esteem and its effects on perceptions of failure and success, Brown observed that persons with low self-esteem (LSE) were much more negatively impacted by failure, leading them to become more cautious, risk averse and critical of their own competence (Psychology n.p.).
"Failure hurts LSE people more than HSE [high self-esteem] people . . . They may become more concerned with protecting the self from the pain of failure rather than risking success . . . Doubting their ability to successfully execute self-aggrandizing interpersonal behaviors [they] assume a public posture of modesty and conservatism." (Brown, 720)
(Image from www2.wabash.edu)
It sounds quite familiar: If a recipe calls for a difficult or unfamiliar technique, I quickly turn the page. While I oooh and aaah over another's perfect loaf of bread or a bowl of homemade ricotta, I'll demur when they encourage me to try making them myself. "I don't have your skill," I'll say. "Maybe one of these days . . . " But chances are that I never will. To me, failure has represented loss - of time, energy and resources - and injury to self-confidence and ego. I never considered it as a way to gain knowledge and experience, and to push my abilities until I could reach the next level.

Then I read a post by Mardi of Eat.Live.Travel.Write, in which she recounted her recent travails with macaron-making. Involving five batches, three recipes and a tower of Tupperware filled with failed attempts, Mardi's two-week ordeal finally culminated in pretty pastel-hued confections. But it was her perseverance, not these sweet little rounds, that held my admiration. Where I would have likely cut my losses after the first fail, she continued to try - tweaking a step here, changing the technique there - until she found success. For Mardi, each shortfall was an opportunity to learn; more importantly, a failed mac was just a flattened bit of meringue, not a metaphor for competence.

Cooking Up Confidence

So enough of the self-pity and the tremulousness: I once made crappy carbonara and now it's time to get over it. I refuse to be a LSE person, just two letters short of being a 'loser'. As a first step in rehabilitating my self-esteem, I made spaghetti alla carbonara for the first time in nearly twenty-two years - and it wasn't terrible.

In fact, it was so not terrible that I decided to make it my very first submission to Beet 'n' Squash You, the monthly cooking challenge hosted by two incredible food bloggers - Mel of GourmetFury and Leela of SheSimmers. The entries to their battles have been nothing short of phenomenal, so I'm not sure how mine will stand against others.

But as Julia Child once said, "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you've got to have a 'What the hell!' attitude."


References
"Help, I've Failed and I Can't Get Up!" Psychology Today website. Sept. 1, 1995 n.p.
Brown, Jonathon and Keith A. Dutton. "The Thrill of Victory, the Complexity of Defeat." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol 68, no 4. 1995: 712-22.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Asparagus and Lamb Bacon

Spring is a time for renewal, so what better way to refresh one's confidence than to primp a classic dish with a little bit of printemps and enter it in this month's Battle Asparagus? Although the vegetable is the focus of the challenge, my entry is definitely an ensemble piece, as the sauce's creamy texture from whole eggs and grated cheese is countered by the tender crunch of blanched asparagus and from crispy lamb bacon. Oh, yes - lamb bacon . . . do I really need to describe it? It's lamb, it's bacon and it's divine. I procured mine from Bar 5 Meat and Poultry at the Minneapolis Farmers' Market, but if you can't find any nearby, consider this simple method for home curing.



It's all about the sauce, so if you already have a favorite carbonara recipe, by all means stick to it. The asparagus and lamb bacon are really just another twist on the popular addition of green peas and smoky bacon to classic carbonara. Otherwise, here's how I prepared my dish:

Serves 4

Ingredients

8 oz spaghetti
4 oz lamb bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 large eggs (2 is sufficient to coat the noodles, but use 3 if you like it a bit more 'saucy')
1/2 cup Grana Padano, grated (coarse or fine, your choice), plus more for finished plate
Salt and 1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup asparagus, blanched and cut into 1.5" pieces

Important: With the exception of the blanched asparagus, do not prepare any of the other ingredients ahead of time. Heat from just-cooked bacon and pasta help to 'cook' the raw egg sauce, so they are best utilized immediately after they are done.

To make

1. In a fry pan or skillet over low to medium heat, fry bacon until just beginning to get crispy and fat is rendered. Turn off heat and add garlic, stirring well to mix with bacon;
2. As bacon is cooking, make spaghetti according to package direction or your preference;
3. While noodles are cooking, prepare carbonara sauce: in a large bowl (enough to hold the pasta), beat eggs very well so that yolk and whites are completely mixed. Add pepper.
4. Whisk 1/4 cup Grana Padano into beaten eggs and mix well, then add remainder and mix again.
5. When spaghetti is done, do not drain! Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, then immediately add hot noodles directly from the pot to the bowl of egg mixture.
6. Toss spaghetti in the sauce, making sure all strands are well-coated. The hot noodles help to 'cook' the raw egg sauce. If sauce seems too thick or 'dry', add reserved pasta water a few tablespoons at a time until desired consistency.
7. Add lamb bacon with garlic, including as much of the rendered fat as preferred, and toss well; then add asparagus and toss to mix.
8. Let carbonara sit for a minute or two, allowing the sauce to thicken a bit, then serve. Buon appetito!



Please join us for Eating Your Words 2010 - just let your food do the talking and Andrew Zimmern may choose you as the winner of a fabulous aebleskiver pan from Aunt Else's Aebleskiver!
Deadline is Wednesday, March 31

65 comments:

  • Cool Lassi(e) said...

    Dear,
    I sent my entry(http://pangravykadaicurry.blogspot.com/2010/03/conquer-cancer-cups-and-dedication.html) for the contest. Let me know if you need anything else.

  • Angry Asian said...

    failure is also the excuse to try again.

    i am a fan of this dish in general, and with the spring season coming in, adding fresh veggies (like your asparagus) just lightens it up so beautifully!

  • Manggy said...

    Okay, I never saw myself as Mr. HSE, but did I ever tell you about how I nailed carbonara on the first try? Ha ha ha. :) But I admire you for hanging in there! See (and taste) the rewards you've reaped!
    I used to hate carbonara, too, because we were having the spaghetto carbonara version of the Philippines, with the boxed cream and the yuck :P This (simpler!) version is sooo much better.

  • ValleyWriter said...

    Your carbonara looks delicious - BRAVO for trying again! I was just discussing this with a friend the other day in regard to experimenting with baking. We agreed you just have to go into it with the mindset that there *will* be failures. That's why it's best to keep some backup chocolate on hand, IMO! :-)

  • Caroline said...

    "I refuse to be a LSE person, just two letters short of being a 'loser'." Love that!
    I'm glad you gave carbonara another try, that looks awesome. I am intrigued by lamb bacon, I'm sure if I use that, my kids would eat up all their asparagus. :)

  • ♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ said...

    the embarassment must be so terrible it scarred you for life... well for 22 years... at least now you've mustered enough courage to try again and rose above the experience... *applause*

    Your carbonara looks perfect. I love the inclusion of lamb bacon and asparagus... i'm sure carbonara is in your list of specialties all over again... such is the essence of SPRING!

  • The Diva on a Diet said...

    HUGE Congrats on tackling the carbonara again, Noodle! It looks *amazing*!

    I very much enjoyed reading this inspiring post. No one would ever accuse me of being a risk-taker in general ... but in the kitchen, I'm pretty fearless. I take the failures in stride and am always convinced I can find a better way of doing things if something does in fact bomb.

    Honestly, some of the best laughs I've had are over kitchen disasters. A little humor goes a long way! :)

  • Bob said...

    Heh, great story. It seems like all of my recent kitchen disasters have been in front of people, two of them that I was meeting for the first time!

    I've been wanting to make carbonara for ages, I really need to get off my butt and do it.

  • Phyllis said...

    Wow, what a comeback, lamb bacon and all! I used to have fear of failure in the kitchen and also when it came to playing team sports. Over the years I've gotten better at dealing with kitchen disasters but you'll still never see me bowling or playing volleyball LOL! Good luck in the beet n squash you challenge :)

  • Jenn said...

    I'm definitely one of those who turn the page when I see something difficult. Call me lazy, but sometimes I just can be bothered to even try. But I will eventually have a go at it.

    Delicious carbonara!!

  • Daily Spud said...

    Go you for facing your carbonara fears! I know how it is to let failure and the fear thereof get the better of me - in the kitchen and elsewhere.

    In fact, one thing that food blogging has taught me is to pay more attention in the kitchen and, if something doesn't work, to look for the clues as to why and try to learn from that (as opposed to putting a big X through that recipe, which is what I might have done in the past!)

  • Brian Asis said...

    It is natural that everyone fails once in a while, you just have to pick yourself up and learn from that experience and go at it again.

    I love this article, it was inspiring.

    And adding the hot pasta to the egg mixture is brilliant :D I will try this one, I'm just surprised you did not use cream. I just like creamy carbonara :D

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Wow! Many thanks for all your comments, although I will once again ask for your patience with my replies - several late nights in a row are really catching up to me. 8-) I promise to respond before day's end tomorrow.

    In the meantime, I hope you won't wait as long as I did to make some carbonara, with or without the asparagus and lamb bacon! 8-)

  • A cupcake or two said...

    Lamb bacon?? Ok I'm going to look for it here in Sydney. Your Carbonara looks delicious. Cooking is all about trial and error. It's also about passion and you certainly have a lot of that. :)

  • Chef E said...

    You are going places dear! Now if I can only convince hubby that lamb bacon is not bacon, I have succeeded! So then I can eat my fair share of this dish!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    I promised replies before the end of this day and I still have 1 hr 40 mins left! 8-)

    Cool Lassi(e) - It's so easy to make, you can definitely have a plate for yourself! Thank you so much for your EYW entry - so excited to have you join us.

    Angry Asian - That's the lesson I'm learning! In place of carbonara, I've made other cream sauces (i.e. Alfredo) but this was my first and favorite so I'm happy to have redeemed myself!

    MaryMoh - Thank you! I've found that this dish is hard to find on resto menus - perhaps because of the raw eggs. Now, I'm more confident to make it at home more often!

    Manggy - Okay, Mr. HSE, now you're just bragging! 8-D I actually did use cream way back then, but when I decided to make it again, I did a bit more 'research' and learned that cream is NOT part of the original recipes. This is definitely much better!

    Anncoo - Thank you! Simple ingredients can make such tasty dishes!

    ValleyWriter - Part of my problem is that I'm also Ms. Stingy! 8-D But I am finding that failures are also a learning experience. I will never master a recipe or technique if I never even try!

    Caroline - Trust me: this lamb bacon will make anything taste fabulous! 8-)

    Gera - Thank you, friend! I had nearly forgotten why I loved this dish in the first place, so I'm happy I didn't make a mistake this time. 8-)

    Malou - Definitely it's back at the top of my specialties list! The funny thing is that I didn't stop making pasta, even though it was just the noodles I burned, and I still made cream sauce pastas. In a way, it's good that I stayed away from it so long - as I mentioned to Manggy above, I found out that what I made all those years ago wasn't right! 8-P

    Diva - I need to learn to laugh at myself, but I am such a sensitive thing. The first thing I feel when I make a public mistake is terrible embarrassment. But along with the wrinkles, I'm also developing a thicker skin! I'll just have to take your lead . . . 8-D

    Bob - I'm learning that 'failing' in full view in not so bad because everyone is so supportive! When you get a chance, you really should try this - I can't believe I stayed away from it all these years!

    Cinnamon-Girl - It does look piggy bacon but the flavor is all lamb-y! I'm hoping to pick up some more this weekend at our farmers' market - more carbonara!

    Phyllis - Thank you! [LOL] I was always the last one picked for team sports, so I definitely do not have fond memories of that. But I'm so glad I tried this again - especially since I was apparently making it incorrectly before! 8-)

    Jenn - Thanks and I know what you mean. But now, I'm really trying to resolve to try it. On my list: bread not using bread machine; making pastry w/o using premade dough . . .

    Daily Spud - Blogging has really pushed me to be more adventurous and assertive in the kitchen. I used to make the same 6-7 recipes week in and week out. Now, I've been trying new meats, vegetables, spices, etc. I just need to make sure I keep moving forward! Thank you so much for your encouragement. 8-)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Brian - Hi and thanks! I am learning to dust myself off and try again. So glad you enjoyed this and I do hope you'll try it. As for using cream, I actually used to add it all those years ago, but have now learned that 'real' carbonara relies only on the egg and cheese for its creaminess. But by all means, use what you most enjoy!

    Sook - Thank you! I'm pleased with the photos - they turned almost as good as the dish actually tasted. 8-)

    Penny - Thanks! I'm quite proud of myself for making it 'properly'. 8-D

    Cupcake or Two - I'm sure you won't have any trouble finding it (but if you do, check out the link above for making it yourself - I should try!) And thank you - I really do enjoy cooking and want to challenge myself more. 8-)

    Teanna - Girl, you can't even imagine until you get your hands on some lamb bacon. I'm sorry that little lambs must be sacrificed, but at least it's not in vain . . . ! 8-P

    Doggybloggy - You've already got barrels of confidence, but I'll be happy to provide the carbonara!

    Kat - I can't believe I stayed away for so long! 8-)

    Brenda - Thank you! I'm sorry to say that I lost touch with Sylvie and Vina (my sister L was the 4th girl in the group) but I wish I could invite them to share this with me. Hopefully, they weren't put off carbonara, too! 8-D

    5 Star Foodie - Thank you very much! I'm so happy that it turned out so well given how badly it did the last time around. 8-)

    Ozge - Thank you! But a book is definitely a dream . . .!

    Kitchen Butterfly - Thanks! I'm learning that with a little effort, any fail can be a success. 8-)

    Stacy - You must search for it - it's well worth it! I plan to pick up some more this weekend at the farmers' market - at least, I hope they still have some more. 8-)

    Mark - Thank you so much! I was definitely feeling much more spring-y after this.

    Erica - Thank you! The asparagus added a nice crunch to the creamy texture of the pasta - I hope you'll try it out!

    Chef E - [LOL] I didn't realize just how good lamb bacon was until I cooked it up. Now, I'll have to buy extra so that Mr. Noodle and I can have our own shares! 8-D

  • Trissa said...

    How wonderful you overcame the fear of making carbonara - otherwise we'd never get to see such a beautiful plate of pasta!

    Same thing happened to me many times with macarons! Before I thought Oh yes I'd mastered it when I hadnt! AGRGH!

  • Marc @ NoRecipes said...

    I think fear of failure is what keeps many people from cooking without recipes. I think failure is just part of the learning process and in the end you come out a better cook. Glad to hear you didn't give up as this looks delicious!

  • Jamie said...

    Oh I am so on the same wavelength! I really have to be pushed to find the courage to make something new (thank you food blogging!) and curses eminate from the kitchen while I am in there, cursing, arms flailing, whining and yelling. But sometimes I am actually rather surprised at my good results. I love that "What the hell!" attitude. I need to write it down and paste it on my fridge.

    Adore!!!!! Spaghetti Carbonara and with lamb bacon? Wow I want some of that as I love lamb and avoid cooking with pork. Love the addition of asparagus too. What a lovely dish. And thanks for sharing the story - made me smile, made me laugh!

  • Mini Baker said...

    OMG, I'm soooo excited I found your blog! Your carbonara looks divine!
    Can't wait to browse around! I could use some new savory dishes to mix in with all my sweet dishes!
    -Mini B.

  • Lori said...

    Would you believe I've never had or made carbonara. I know I'm deprived. :) I am so intrigued by that lamb bacon. It has to be fabulous especially in a dish like this.

  • Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

    Tracey, apart from the lovely shoutout there and someone acknowledging the macaron quest, I am so impressed with this post. You are a wonderful writer and the thought and care that go into each and every blog post are apparent. Apart from that, WOW - what a great looking dish!

  • Steph P said...

    Ahh, this post hits very close to home (both in the personal experience and the psychology-food connection). Great piece! You should definitely give yourself credit for overcoming the challenges of your youth :)

    By the way, you might be interested in this body of research that talks about the potential harm of praise - turns out that praising people for innate ability can make people respond poorly to failure and more risk averse as well!

    Perseverance and hard work are what count and what result in more success.
    http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/

  • Nutrition to Kitchen said...

    Great pics TN! I never had lamb bacon before - does it taste like pork bacon or is it a little more gamey? I love the asparagus twist and had me some pasta with grilled asparagus last night, yummy! :)

  • Table Talk said...

    I have never had lamb bacon, but can picture how incredible it would be. By switching out traditional bacon with spring time lamb bacon and adding asparagus is such a clever twist on traditional Carbonara. Love it!

  • zerrin said...

    It's the time that matters for me, so I don't usually turn the page when a recipe seems difficult. Ok I'm not a professional cook, but I do love to try to make new dishes. Even if the result is bad, it's not a real failure as I learn what I shouldn't do when applying the recipe. And that's why I love the quotation by Truman Capote.

    And your spaghetti Carbonara definitely looks heavenly. It's good that you've tried it again. The combination of asparagus and lamb is new to me in spaghetti, but sounds like a great idea.

  • Fresh Local and Best said...

    This is a very uplifting post on perseverance. I've been my worst enemy sabotaging my potential so that I could have an easy reason for why I didn't succeed. I love the first quite. This pasta carbonara looks great!

  • sophia said...

    I LOVE carbonara..pasta drenched in an eggy sauce with bacon? What's not to love?
    Btw, you really write beautifully...not just beautiful pictures and food, but your writing is awesome, too!

  • lisaiscooking said...

    Thank you. This is the kick in the pants I needed. I've been afraid of making gnocchi for too long, and it's time to give it a try. Your carbonara with lamb bacon and asparagus sounds great for spring!

  • Sippity Sup said...

    Finding inspiration in new recipes is a great way to see the world anew! Or so I think. My "words" video is not going well. It may never see the light of day... GREG

  • Barbara said...

    Such a great post! Perhaps all of us can take a lesson here. I still haven't tried macarons (Heavenly Housewife'e experiences scared me off) and I also have a cookbook opened to a page on from-scratch pot stickers that I have been avoiding.
    I'll do it.

    Never heard of lamb bacon before...and will look into it, but your recipe turned out perfectly! That pile of carbonara would hit the spot for dinner tonight.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Thanks so much for all the new comments!

    Trissa - Thank you! The memory of that burnt-noodle taste beneath the sauce really lingered in my memory. Now it's been replaced by lamb bacon-y flavor! I'm now seriously considering trying macarons . . . 8-)

    Amy - Did you satisfy the craving? Carbonara was my absolute favorite pasta dish, although it broadened to include pretty much anything creamy. Now that I've made it again, it's back at the top . . .!

    Marc - Thank you so much! As I continue to cook and push myself to try new techniques, ingredients, etc. I'm becoming less tethered to a recipe. One of these days, I'll cut the apron strings . . . 8-)

    Jamie - I fall into a terrible funk if a dish fails, so my husband tries not to let on if something is less than stellar. I join you in thanking food blogging for its positive influence on my cooking skills! As for lamb bacon, I am in love!

    Mini Baker - [LOL] I'm almost the opposite - I'm trying to do more sweet posts, but don't make them often because it's simply too dangerous to have such goodies in a household of only 2 people! 8-)

    Lori - The lamb bacon was a revelation! I have no doubt you'll be able to find some, but at the very least, you have access to really fresh eggs. So I totally encourage you to try out a carbonara recipe!

    Betty - This recipe is one step right after the other, resulting in fantastic flavors and wonderfully creamy texture. You'd love it!

    Mardi - Thank you so much! I truly appreciate you kind words; I'm just as anxious about my writing as I am about my cooking. Your macaron quest really did inspire me because of the joy you take in all aspects of your cooking, not just the grand successes! 8-D

    Steph - Thanks for the article link! I've bookmarked it to read at length. Wandering into other disciplines has really helped me to understand my own approach to food (eating and cooking); of course, it leads to so many possible paths of study but what great fun in the discovery!

    N2K - Thank you! This lamb bacon does have a more sweetish, gamey flavor than pork bacon, which I must confess to really loving. As for the asparagus, it's also such a favorite - I can't wait until the Asparagus Guy at our farmers' market starts selling!

    Table Talk - I thought that I would splurge on guanciale for this dish but when I saw lamb bacon, there was no question which would win! I'm so pleased that this turned out - guess I had quite a few years to get my act together well enough to make it properly!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Zerrin - Finding the positive in a 'failure' is something that I'm finally learning to do, instead of wallowing in my disappointment. I've definitely started experimenting more with my cooking and have been pleasantly surprised that I can actually do them! 8-) As for this combination of ingredients in pasta, the flavors are really wonderful!

    Fresh Local and Best - Thank you! Self-sabotage is a specialty of mine and not just with regard to my cooking. But I'm fortunate to find so many models and examples among fellow bloggers of how satisfying it can be to simply make the attempt, regardless the outcome. 8-)

    Sophia - Thank you so much! I enjoy writing and am always so pleased & flattered when others enjoy reading my words. As for the carbonara, there's everything to love about this dish, which is why I'm soooo happy I made it again. What have I been missing for 20+ years?!

    Duo Dishes - It tastes even better than it sounds! 8-D

    Lisa - From Mardi to me to you! Honestly, I'm surprised that there's something you've hesitated to make - to me, you are one of the most fearless cooks out there! I will eagerly look forward to your gnocchi dish . . . 8-)

    Petite Nyonya - Thank you! Apparently, maturity has helped a lot with technique - I'm quite happy that it turned out so well.

    Greg - Taking inspiration from you and other marvelous cooks/bloggers has opened my eyes to just that viewpoint!

    I'm sorry to hear about the video! I hope something might be salvageable but no worries - your participation last year was such a tremendous boost for us! Definitely stop by again to check out the roundups. 8-)

    Barbara - Ah, macarons! I see so many perfectly-made ones that I've also been a bit timid to try. But I've definitely put it on my to-make list, if only to say that I tried it! As for the lamb bacon, it's well worth the search. I need to re-stock but must wait another week before it's available again at our farmers' market. 8-)

    Kathleen - Thank you! Does it make me sound gluttonous to admit that my husband and I finished the entire preparation that evening? 8-)

    Miranda - I have totally fallen in love with carbonara again! I had replaced it with cream sauces like Alfredo but now that I've made it again, I realize that even with the bacon (which can be reduced in amount), it's more healthy without the dairy cream. And it's just as creamy as satisfying! 8-)

  • Divina Pe said...

    I like that - refresh your confidence. Definitely a great way to start spring or even everyday. I could say that carbonara is looking confident waiting to be eaten. You've done some recipes that I haven't done before I thought I couldn't do. It's great to have food bloggers around for inspiration. I had my fair share of making carbonara before that was really embarrassing to serve. :)I think your confidence has been refreshed.

  • Emily said...

    Great pasta, beautiful photo and the added interest of lamb bacon (which I have never heard of but sounds great) - what more could a girl want from a blog post? I am a first-time visitor to your lovely blog (thanks to the blogroll of Once a Waitress Always a Waitress) but will definitely be back soon...and on the topic of kitchen disasters, my approach is that I will not let the recipe/dish/food beat me if it is a failure the first time, and will go back to something time and time again to make it right if I think it has potential. And that's what I tell all of my kitchen-scared friends who think I am an effortless genius when I cook for them - things only start to look effortless after you've practised the skill for years!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Divina - Thank you! It's strange that this dish was almost like a mental block. But now that I made it as it was SUPPOSED to have been made, I'm so much more excited about trying new techniques! You are definitely one of those food bloggers that I turn to for inspiration!

    Emily - Thanks! I had never heard of lamb bacon, either, until I happened to spot it at our winter farmers' market. Now, I've been pestering those good folk to keep it stocked! As for looking so skilled and smooth in the kitchen, I'm hoping that practice and a little bit of 'what the hell!' attitude will me along. I sometimes do forget that cooking can be fun and not an exercise in stress. Now, I try to lure my husband into the kitchen with me so that I feel like it's a fun activity rather than a chore. Thanks so much for your comment and welcome! 8-)

  • onlinepastrychef said...

    Oh, good for you, TN!!! I think you've had a breakthrough! I'm so proud of you that you made some carbonara and then shared with everyone in the contest.

    You, my friend, are no LoSEr. You are made of Awesome and Win!

  • foodslashtech said...

    And now I realise I have brought in the wrong lunch... I want this! what a lovely write up as well; we've all managed to somehow kick ourselves in the teeth - it's like a right of passage. Also, big thank you for that bacon curing reference... will be doing it very soon!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Mama Holli - Thanks! It's so quick to make, so you can satisfy that craving quicky. 8-D

    OPC - I think I'm getting the hang of this 'fearless' cooking thing! Well, I still have a long way to go but it is more fun when I'm not stressing over it. 8-D

    Foodslashtech - A kick in the teeth can make us shy to try again, but then the pain recedes and the hunger takes over! Glad you like this and I would love to hear about it when you decide to cure your own bacon! (I will work my way up to that at some point). 8-D

 

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