If you want an Italian cookbook this is a really good choice. There are some very good recipes in here. A lot of food that I ate while living in Sicily is represented here like coniglio al vino bianco (rabbit cooked in white wine), fritto misto di mare (fried seafood), broccoli rabe with red chili (we would have used peperoncino) and a real recipe for pesto (not like the one from the Giada book I reviewed). This is not a cookbook for an inexperienced cook.
He has a recipe for spaetzle with rosemary. I would buy the spaetzle instead of making my own. To me spaetzle is something you need to learn how to do. It is not real easy. There are some pastas that he uses which are not found easily. You could substitute other pastas.
Here's a recipe from pen and fork:
Spaghetti alla CarbonaraI have made this classic dish the same way for years: with olive oil, guanciale (cured jowl of pork), egg yolks and Parmesan. The tried and true is perfection, please believe me. I had cooks add garlic and onions, peas and mushrooms. Blasphemy!
I have heard a couple different stories for the source of the name. Some people say it refers to miners (carbonari) because of the flecks of black pepper, but I like the story of Giuseppe Mazzini, the revolutionary from Genoa who was a member of a secret group called carbonari, who attempted for years to unify Italy. Regardless, this pasta dish is the world’s richest and most decadent. A wonderfully gifted actress frequents Barbuto and always orders a double carbonara; God bless her!
1/4 pound guanciale, diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup Parmesan
4 egg yolks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
1. Cook the guanciale in the olive oil slowly for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Keep warm.
2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 8 minutes and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
3. Add the pasta and water to the guanciale pan and bring to a boil. Add the cheese, turn off the heat. Add the yolks all at once and beat furiously for 1 minute. The eggs should not scramble but turn into a smooth sauce. Season with sea salt and black pepper and serve immediately.
Guanciale was something I could not find even in Sicily. I asked my SIL about it and she never heard of it. You can substitute pancetta.