Spaghetti Carbonara

When I was in college, I read Ruth Reichel’s book Garlic and Sapphires. It was assigned reading for some class, though I can’t remember what course I took where reading a food critic’s book would have been an appropriate assignment.

In the same class, I read a book about a woman who spent some time as a flight attendant. She may or may not have liked being a flight attendant.

Clearly that class really prepared me for the world.

Anyway.

Ruth Reichel, acclaimed author and chef, wrote in her book that her favorite go-to meal when she needed something fast was spaghetti carbonara. She described it in the book. It sounded gross.

It took me until two years ago to decide to try it, and two years to get to a happy place with my recipe.

I won’t lie, this is probably the quickest pasta dish I’ve ever made, the ingredients are all things I nearly always have on hand, and it tastes great. My husband (who loves pasta in any form, for any meal, under any circumstance) agrees.

We’re prepping to leave for an adventurous vacation (sorry to my three dedicated readers, blog posts will be few and far between for a few weeks – pictures after!), and I happened to have some bacon that needed eating in the fridge (I know). So this was about the most convenient Sunday night meal I’ve ever made.

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Seriously, this is your sauce: eggs and parmesan cheese. Maybe some salt + pepper.

While the pasta is boiling, beat two eggs and some parmesan cheese together, and crisp up some garlic-y bacon.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve graced this blog with a gratuitous bacon shot.

Once the pasta is cooked, everything needs to be combined quickly. The heat of the pasta will cook the eggs. Cold pasta won’t cook anything, so, you know – stir fast!

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I used angel hair pasta, which I don’t remember buying, but had an open box of. Use whatever pasta you like (spaghetti being the “correct” choice).

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Dump sauce on hot pasta.

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Engage tongs to mix.

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Add bacon. And some more parm. And some parsley.

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Dinner!

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Steak Sandwiches with Spicy Honey Mustard

Spicy honey mustard is a thing, right? I’m not so revolutionary as to have invented a new condiment. I’m just not that clever.

Steak sandwiches were always a staple in my house as a kid. My Dad loved them (so did my Mom), and we as kids HATED them. My parents had a very strict “you have to try it policy,” so I am at a loss for how I tried a steak sandwich and did not like it.

All these years later, I feel the loss of all the steak sandwiches I could have eaten as a child.

And I must make up for it.

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Maybe I was against onions and peppers as a kid?

These are NOT Philly cheesesteaks. For that, you’ll need to go to Philly. Or find someone from Philly. Or just coat this in Cheese Whiz and then cry yourself to sleep.

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I use a steak sandwich process that I assume was patented by my mother.

Once the onions and peppers start to soften, push them to one side of the pan. Add the steak. Let it cook. Flip it over. Then mix the cooked steak in with the peppers and onions. Push everything to the side, and repeat the process until all of the steak is cooked.

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Hungry?

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Too many close ups of the same thing? Oh well. I was hungry, and now I’m looking at these and wondering if there are any leftovers in the fridge.

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Ignore my lightly singed bread, yet another casualty of my inability to use the broiler properly. (Don’t be like me: lower your oven racks and set a timer!!)Steak Sandwiches.png

 

Deep. Dish. Pizza.

Let me tell you about the world’s greatest pizza. This little town in Illinois came up with it. It might be their only claim to fame. (Might be.)

Here at Dad Loves Dessert, we’ve been training for a long hike we have planned on our next vacation. 19.4 kilometers (just over 12 miles). When you spend most of the daylight hours in your Sunday hiking up and down mountains for practice, you convince yourself that you deserve a treat. A carrot at the end of the hike, if you will.

But WAY less healthy.

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Okay, so I wasn’t just hiking for the pizza.

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Well. Mostly for the pizza.

This pizza was so good, I’ve run out of other things to say.

Making it was not any harder than making a regular pizza, though it does take longer. The dough does have to rise (unlike my tricksy no-rise pizza recipes), and it takes about 45 minutes to bake.

But it is SO worth it.

I used my KitchenAid with the dough hook for this recipe. The crust includes softened butter, which is just easier to knead in with a machine.

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Once the dough starts coming together, I tossed the butter into the mixer and let it knead everything together for 10ish minutes.

Conveniently, this gave me the opportunity to prep the fillings – browning spicy turkey sausage (you know, healthy choices), making the tomato sauce, shredding the mozzarella.

Once the dough came together – it’s a sticky dough – I set it aside to rise for about an hour.

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Once this little ball is about twice the size, you’re ready to go.

Punch that dough down and get ready to stretch it.

Since this is a deep dish, you need, you know, a deep dish in which to cook it. I used my cast iron skillet, and it worked wonderfully. Coat that bad boy in olive oil and start stretching the dough in the skillet.

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When you have the dough about coating the bottom of the pan, stop. Cover it and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Then you can continue to stretch it up the sides of the pan.

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It may not stay up completely, but that’s okay. When you start to layer in the filling, it will stay up just fine.

Now, the filling part is important. It’s just not a Chicago deep dish unless you layer cheese, meat, sauce. No other combinations of that order will be accepted. Cheese first, meat next, chunky tomato sauce on top.

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Sprinkle some red pepper flakes on there and you’re golden.

Bake this at 375 for 45 minutes, or until the crust is browned.

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A thing of beauty.

Let it rest for 10 minutes or as long as you can hold out. I did not make it 10 minutes. Top with grated parmesan cheese, slice it up and serve.

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And yes, I served it with a salad. Remember how this is a healthy meal?

Deep Dish Pizza

Pulled Pork Pizza

Shhhh, quiet. It has not been more than a month since I last posted. February cannot have gone by that quickly. It’s clearly February 3 and we’re headed to New Orleans for the weekend.

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Oh wait, we already did NO.

We also ran a half marathon and I hit the road twice for work. And had family in town for a weekend. And fixed a leaky toilet. Excuses, I know.

In any case, I swear I did not wait six weeks to use the masses of leftover pulled pork for this pizza recipe. I made it right away, and just waited that long to share.

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One of my favorite things about this pizza dough is that it doesn’t need to rise. So much faster.

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And it shapes nicely into this vaguely square crust. I’m terrible at stretching pizza dough, this was the best I could do (at least it wasn’t just a blob, I suppose).

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Look at that delicious porky pizza.

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This was seriously so good, I wish I had another batch of pulled pork right now. Alas.

 

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World’s Easiest Pulled Pork

Lately, I’ve been lamenting that we ran out of our favorite barbecue sauce. It’s from a wing joint in Pittsburgh, Sidelines, that we became aware of after it placed second in a local “best wings in Pittsburgh” contest. (It was robbed, they have the first best wings in Pittsburgh. And everywhere.)

The hot garlic barbecue sauce they make is ah-mah-zing. (My husband also likes the hot, but it’s too hot for me.) And they make like a bazillion other flavors, some of which we’ve tried during trips back to Pittsburgh, so far, all good.

As a wedding gift, a friend gave us two GROWLERS full of my favorite sauce (and two smaller bottles of the hot). And it has finally run out. We tried to get more the last time we were in Pittsburgh, but we forgot to bring our empties and they were out of bottles. Enter sadness. And inability to eat barbecue sauce-requiring foods.

Until Christmas, when we were gifted a bottle of local craft sauce. Barbecue back on the menu. My husband also got his new kegerator set up, so we now are the beer-on-tap-at-home family.

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It’s a little over the top, but not all bad. (Plus the husband promised to take care of all cleaning and whatnot, so win-win for me!)

If that wasn’t enough, the local Harris Teeter decided to give away pork shoulder earlier this month. Such a sale they practically paid me to take it off their hands. YESPLEASE!

So, pulled pork it would be.

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To add to my delight, pulled pork is super easy to make. At least the way I make it.

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Rub it down with some spices.

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Cover the whole thing in beer and cook it low and slow – 8 hours later, you will have delicious pork.

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Nothing wrong with that!

I used my roast lifters (this is really what they are called, I checked) to get it out of the crock pot since it’s a. hot, b. heavy, c. FALLING apart at the slightest touch.

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It is so easy to pull (or in my case chop) at this point. This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but the bone was CLEAN.

Then toss it with your favorite barbecue sauce (or in my case, the new sauce I was cheating on my favorite with) and serve however you like!

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Don’t tell my Sidelines sauce… but this was good too. It has a nice mustard-y flavor to it, which made it really unique.

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For the first night (since this makes approximately 12,098 servings of pulled pork), I served it on sesame seed buns with pickle slices and cheddar cheese. And it was delish. The next night, I made a pizza… recipe to come.

I still have enough leftover to feed the entire cast of Newsies. And I assume those tween/teen boys were hungry after all that singing and dancing.

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