David: How was school today, Sweetheart?
Lucy: I have something in my bum.
David: You do? Do you have to go poopy?
Lucy: No, but there's a nick nack paddy wack, give your bum a dog...Did you hear that? I said give your bum a dog? Haa Ha Haaaaaa Ha Ha!
Kim: Are you cracking yourself up?
Lucy: I'm funny. Ha Ha Ha Ha Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Give your bum a dog... Ha Ha Ha!
Kim: Edie, is Lucy funny?
David: Okay, let's do some eating, girls.
Lucy: You know, Princess Granda eats...she-she-she-eats the angry daisies and then, they-they-they-they die and the cats eat the daisies and they die...
Kim: The daisies die?
David: No, the cats. Please keep up.
Lucy: Our cat Murphy died.
Kim: Yes, honey she died. That was pretty sad.
Lucy: I think she had a nick nack paddy wack in her bum...Ha Ha Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! In her bum...Did you hear that Edie? Ha Ha Ha Ha Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
I translated verbatim. Verbatim, I tell you. And then I had to stop.
It's true - I can't raise the level of conversation in our house, but I can put on a hell of a meal and Friday night a bunch of the neighbors came over for pot luck and I made an old favorite - Lydia Bastianich’s Linguine alla Carbonara. This is simple, rich and oh so bacon-y. It also tastes great with peas, but since David hates them and Lucy is enrolled in her "Green Food Abstention Program", I’ll pass on the peas for now. But this is a kid favorite - they really slurped up these fatty noodles.
But try the pasta -if you lurve bacon, this dish will love you right back.
Makes 6 servings
6 ounces slab bacon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
2 large yellow onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups hot Chicken Stock (or as needed)
1 pound linguine
3 egg yolks
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Coarsely ground black pepper
Bring 6 quarts of salted water to the boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat. Remove the rind, if necessary, from the bacon. Cut the bacon into 1/4-inch slices, then cut the slices crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until the bacon is lightly browned but still soft in the center, about 6 minutes.
Lydia's Note about Fat: The amount of fat in the skillet will vary depending on the bacon. If there is more than 3 to 4 tablespoons of fat in the pan, pour off the excess. If there is less than 3 to 4 tablespoons, add enough olive oil to measure that amount.
Add the onions and cook until wilted but still crunchy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and adjust the heat to a lively simmer. Cook until the liquid is reduced by about half.
Meanwhile, stir the linguine into the boiling salted wafer. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, about 8 minutes.
Ladle off about a cup of the pasta-cooking water. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, fish the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and drop it directly into the sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary. If necessary, add as much chicken stock or pasta-cooking water as needed to make enough sauce to coat the pasta generously. Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg yolks one at a time, tossing well after each. (A salad fork and spoon work well for this.) Add the grated cheese, then the black pepper, tossing well, and serve immediately in warmed bowls.
Lydia's Note about Pepper:
Lydia's Note about Pepper:Coarsely ground black pepper is essential to this dish. If your mill doesn't grind pepper coarsely, try the following trick: Place the peppercorns on a flat surface. Holding the rim of a small, heavy saucepan or skillet with one hand, and pressing down on the center of the pan with the other, crush the peppercorns until coarsely ground.