Spaghetti alla carbonara, La Fenice and Diego Matheuz

I always say that to be happy, you just have to want to be happy, simple.  The reason I made this pasta today is not only because I love it and it makes me and my tummy happy, but because we woke up with a news that made me extremely happy.

Venezuelan conductor Diego Matheuz was appointed Musical Director of La Fenice, the opera house in Venice, Italy. One of the most prestigious opera houses in Europe, World premiers of Giuseppe Verdi’s  Rigoletto, La Traviatta and Simon Boccanegra took place at the Gran Teatro La Fenice.
Matheuz is only 26. Like his pal, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Musical Director, Gustavo Dudamel, he’s a product of the Venezuelan internationally renowned El Sistema. He was concertmaster of the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and has served as an assistant conductor for Dudamel, who is that orchestra’s music director. He also worked with Maestro Simon Rattle and Maestro Claudio Abbado.
For me, to say La Fenice and opera is the same and, don’t ask me why, but in my brain and tummy there is a connection between opera and spaghetti alla carbonara. Then, I made this recipe to celebrate Matheuz, El Sistema and his founder director Maestro José Antonio Abreu.
Pasta, usually spaghetti, alla carbonara is seasoned with bacon bits, raw eggs, parsley and cheese. In some countries like the USA, it’s very common the addition of cream. However, it seems like the original recipe —originated back in World War II in Italy—didn’t call for any cream.
Anyways, who cares? The mix of the eggs and the addition of some pasta water make it light and naturally creamy. To enhance the flavor, I sauté some chopped onion in the same fat of the bacon and then cooked it with some white wine. The crunchy bacon bits and the crispy fresh parsley provide not only flavor but texture.
One more time, the simpler the better.  Buon apetito and Bravo Maestro!
Spaghetti alla carbonara | Ingredients for 6 portions
I package spaghetti (I used vermicelli)
¼ of pound of frozen bacon finely chopped
1 Tbs. of olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup of white wine
4 eggs beaten
½ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese (I used Parmigiano Regiano)
1 cup of chopped flat or curly parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
In a pot, put water to boil the pasta. In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon from the heat and put it on absorbent paper towels. In the same skillet with the bacon fat, sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. When al dente, reserve a little water for later and then strain. Let run some cool water to stop cooking. Strain. In a bowl, mix eggs with cheese. Add onion and bacon. Mix well. If necessary add some pasta water. Add the pasta and combine. Add pepper and parsley. Serve warm with extra cheese.

To print the recipe click here.

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