I may look like I’m a brave person on the outside, but don’t be fooled. For instance, I met my husband on a plane. Very nervy. I started up a conversation with him in the back of the plane cool as a cucumber, but half way through, somewhere mid sentence, I just turned around and walked away. No “nice to meet you” no “see ya”, nothing; now you see her, now you don’t. Once I got back to my seat, I thought, hey, hey, whoa, up, get up, get out the seat, move. Get. Out. Out, out, out. With no plan, I convinced myself to take the bags down from the rack and start walking. I passed the man, I smiled at him, and I kept on going. God bless the last empty seat before the first class curtain, because I had no where else to go. And look at me, I married him. Sometimes all it takes is kicking fear to the curb for a minute, a nano second to see what you can do, instead of doing nothing at all.
A lot of people are afraid of carbonara, and I want you to try it anyway. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? You might have to throw away a few egg yolks, so buy two dozen eggs.
Get a couple of pans of water going, one for your pasta, and one for asparagus. Season both pans with a few pinches of kosher salt. Throw in 3/4 of a pound of penne with the ridges. And spend the extra dollar to get De Cecco. While that’s cooking, slice two pounds of asparagus on the diagonal, leaving a three inches at the bottom to throw away. I like to snap the asparagus, and where it snaps, save the top, and throw away the bottom. Somebody recently told me this is ridiculous, but that’s the way I like to do it. Get the asparagus in the other pot of boiling, and after four minutes, drain them well.
Dry out that pan, and add a little butter and a few whole cloves of garlic over low heat. As soon as the garlic as a little color, add the asparagus, season with salt, and then turn off the pan.
In a little bowl beat 6 egg yolks until they are just smoothed out. Add a few Tablespoons of parmesan, and a spoonful of the water from your pasta pot. Grate some more parmesan (about a cup) to throw in at the end. When the pasta is al dente, drain, reserving a little of the hot water in a bowl. Add the asparagus to the pasta, and then another spoon of hot pasta water to the egg yolks. Pour in the egg yolks to the pasta, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Add another handful of cheese, and taste for salt and pepper. You can also add any herb you like to the garlic when it’s sizzling, like fresh mint, basil or thyme.