Tonight DD13 will get another kitchen survival lesson.
We're making Pasta Carbonara using Pad Thai noodles, as we all eat gluten free here due to DD's gluten sensitivity issues. We're using eggs given to us by a friend who has chickens. We traded some fresh herbs for her chookie eggs, so this is a very inexpensive meal for us tonight. A great lesson for DD in growing even the simplest things, and getting to know others who do the same.
This is the more authentic way of preparing pasta Carbonara, and doesn't taste the least bit egg-y. The eggs cook with the heat of the noodles and stick to the noodle ribbons, meaning you don't end up with bland noodles and a pool of sauce at the bottom of your bowl.
Try adding shaved tasty or parmesan cheese on top. Scrumptious.
The ingredients will be:
For three people:
1/2 packet Pad Thai Noodles
2 cloves garlic
A small handful of shaved ham
Cost: About $2.40 if we had to buy the eggs. About $1.60 with our free eggs.
So the lesson will be:
1. Plan ahead. If you want to eat at 7:30, you have to start preparing the meal at about 7:00. Put a big pot of water on to boil, and set out bowls on the bench ready for serving. Set the table with nice placemats, serviettes, glasses and a jug of water, the correct cutlery (forks and spoons for us), candles and a vase of greenery or flowers. Make sure there's a nice pepper grinder for use. Freshly ground black pepper on Carbonara makes all the difference. Just because it's pasta, doesn't mean you don't make an effort. Add the noodles to the boiling water.
2. Use shaved ham sliced into ribbons in preference to diced ham or bacon as it's easier to pick up with your fork, looks more plentiful, and is less expensive. Fry the ham so it's nice and crisp on the edges, while the pasta cooks, and set it aside. Note that most meat and protein cooks more evenly and quickly if you do it in small batches. Also, use the ham as a garnish, rather than tossing it through. It looks more appetising and colourful that way, and you don't need to use as much ham.
3. Carbonara is made with EGGS, not cream. Or at least that's the case in our house. The eggs are beaten and the mixture is tossed through the hot rice noodles or pasta once they've been drained. This makes it a really economical yet impressive dish. You could easily serve 6-8 people with one packet of Rice Noodles or Pasta, half a dozen eggs, and a handful of shaved ham. Set the egg mixture aside.
4. Peel and thinly slice a couple of fresh cloves of garlic and set them aside to add to the drained pasta too if you want.
4. There's plenty of scope to teach about carrying hot pots and general kitchen safety on carrying hot liquids and using and cleaning knives, so we'll cover that as we go along. Get out the large colander and set it in the sink ready to drain the noodles.
5. Make a green salad and put it on the table.
6. Drain the noodles, return them to the saucepan, and add the beaten eggs, the slivers of garlic, and some seasoning. Toss well to ensure the egg mixture and garlic is evenly distributed. Return to the heat for 30 seconds to ensure it's hot.
7. Serve immediately, using kitchen tongs to curl the noodles into the bowls. Add the scrapings of sauce and garlic, and garnish with the crisp ham.
8. This is one dish that's more difficult to 'clean as you go', because it all comes together at the last minute. But we'll certainly make sure that the 'mess' is manageable, and set aside neatly for cleanup after the meal.
9. Clear the table once the meal is finished. Wipe down the table and the placemats, and put serviettes in the wash. Put away the condiments.
10. Rinse all dishes and stack in the dishwasher. Then follow cleaning guide as for the other night (see opening post if you're interested).
DD loves Carbonara noodles so I know she will really enjoy tonight's lesson :)