The Day I Learned to Make Spaghetti Carbonara

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GinnyPNW

Master Chef
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Aug 20, 2021
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Somewhere in the PNW
Long, long time ago…and still in THIS galaxy, I went to work as usual. Work was on the 15th floor of a high rise in Westwood Village. Actually, it was more like the 17th floor, because there were 3 above ground parking levels and no 13th floor. But, anyway, the office “staff” was just me and my boss, Ray. We had been working together for some years now and we were very good friends. He was more than twice my age, but somehow, we had similar minds. Westwood Village is just outside of the main UCLA campus. There are lots of stores and restaurants in the Village. At lunch time, we could walk to any number of them. Often, hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm. I’m sure that many folks came to believe that he was my Sugar Daddy or something? But, it was never anything like that. More like I was the daughter he always wanted? I was only a few years older than his 2 sons.

On this particular day, mid-morning, there was a substantial EARTH QUAKE! I do not do well with earth quakes. And, being on the 15th/17th floor did nothing to calm me down. It went on forever. I went running into Ray’s office, probably had eyes the size of saucers! He was on the phone with his boss and quickly explained the situation to him, as he told me to just go call the answering service, tell them to answer the phones. I did as told. In earth quakes, one does not use the elevators…so, we walked down all those stairs and out of the building. We didn’t stop to get our cars. Instead we walked to Ray’s apartment, just outside of the Village.

When we got to the apartment, Ray checked the fridge for lunch options. Ray lived with his 2 grown sons and they were off at college or prep school, so, let’s just say the lunch options were limited! I think it was as much of a kind gesture as anything, Ray knew my love of cooking and told me he was going to teach me his Spaghetti Carbonara recipe! In his previous employment, he spent some years in Europe, mostly in Italy. (Cool job he had: He was a critic and writer for a travel company, visiting Hotels and Restaurants all over Europe!) In Italy, he met and married his wife and had two sons before returning to the USA. This is where much of his culinary skills were learned. And this was the day he taught me how to make Spaghetti Carbonara.

We remained good friends until his passing. In fact, he presided over my marriage! He became ordained just to do so. But only after “counseling” my DH-to-be and I…(along with his new wife who was a professional psychologist.) Hey, they must have done something right: we’re still married! He went on to preside over a number of others afterwards.

Ray went on ahead to Heaven a few years back now. Today would have been his birthday. I know I’ll see you again, one day, but now, I miss you, Ray!
 
A lot of words to give a very heartwarming background. Enjoyed reading it!
I wish I'd had a Ray in my life. I'd bet Ray appreciated your friendship just as much as you appreciated his.
Thanks! I shed more than one tear writing it. DH hates the waterworks. If he catches me, I'll just show him the Tax Bill and he can cry too!
 
Carbonara is one of my absolute favorite sauces. When I was working under an Italian chef, he always preached Carbonara as one of the four "holy" pasta dishes from the Roman/Lazio region:
  • Carbonara
  • Amatriciana
  • Alla Gricia
  • Cacio e Pepe
All four dishes only require a few ingredients and all so delicious.
 
I don't have a tax bill to show who ever walks in on me right now but Thank You. Lovely, wonderful friend you had.

Edit:
And your tribute to him is most heart warmeing!
 
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I don't have a tax bill to show who ever walks in on me right now but Thank You. Lovely, wonderful friend you had.
Thank you Dragn....and now, there it goes again!
Writing this out reminded me of a ring I don't wear often. Ray and I walked thru a little street vendor that was set up in the village for a few days. I found a little gold ring. At first glance, it looks like band. Closer, it is a running horse with a ruby. At the time, I had horses and I loved that ring, so it went home with me. The village, being steps from UCLA, there were a TON of young students. It got to be easier to wear that ring on my left-hand. I could move it to the right-hand, quick enough, if needed (you know what I mean). If someone was silly enough to make advances anyway, I would respond, "Can my husband come too?" Anyway, I'm wearing that ring today. Somehow takes me back...
 
Aww, com'on Ginny, you know he's not belittling your feelings for your friend. He really is interested in the recipe!

Charlie... LOL - posting a recipe might start a war over which recipe is "authentic" - especially when we know that the 'only authentic recipe' is the recipe that is made in one's own kitchen, whether that kitchen is on the equator or the North or South Pole or anywhere in between.
 
Aww, com'on Ginny, you know he's not belittling your feelings for your friend. He really is interested in the recipe!

Charlie... LOL - posting a recipe might start a war over which recipe is "authentic" - especially when we know that the 'only authentic recipe' is the recipe that is made in one's own kitchen, whether that kitchen is on the equator or the North or South Pole or anywhere in between.
I do not really care about authenticity, I'm not planning to cook for an Italian restaurant, I'd like me some pasta, I'd really like to learn how to make Spaghetti Carbonara from somebody who knows how and not a cook book. I do love story, I am just that kind of guy, touchy feely, but honestly, this is a cooking forum, right.
 
@CharlieD , if memory serves, aren't you dairy free? Carbonara uses cheese, lots...

Here's a non traditional recipe that is very good and easy to make.

The thread also mentions the recipe from Serious Eats, which is also quite good.

There is also a more traditional/classic recipe by another member. I've made a similar recipe that is also good.
 
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Only if the Pasta Mafia get you!
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