This dish is so simple and cross-culturally clever, we'll look the other way when it comes to the nutritional information. Its author, British food writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, makes his own version of chorizo sausage and keeps it in the refrigerator as a pantry staple (see note, below). If you have a little extra time, make some; here, we used fresh chorizo from the meat department, without the casings.
The recipe can be easily cut in half.
Serve with a salad of thinly sliced fennel and orange slices.
This recipe calls for raw egg yolks. If you are concerned about the risk of salmonella, buy pasteurized eggs, available in select supermarkets. Adapted from Fearnley-Whittingstall's "River Cottage Every Day" (Ten Speed Press, 2011).
> Chorizo Carbonara
8 ounces dried multigrain spaghetti or linguine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound (approximately 2 cups) fresh chorizo (may substitute 12 ounces cured chorizo, cut into very small dice)
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream (may substitute low-fat milk)
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt, then add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain; return the empty pot to the just-used burner on the stove (turned off).
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium heat. Slit and discard the chorizo casings.
Add the chorizo to the skillet in pinches; cook for about 15 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up clumps. As it fries, the sausage should form succulent little nuggets and crumbs, with crisped edges.
Beat the egg yolks and cream together in a liquid measuring cup; season lightly with pepper to taste.
Return the drained pasta to the (empty) pot it was cooked in, then tip in the chorizo and a little of its rendered fat in the skillet. Use 2 forks to stir in the egg yolk-cream mixture so that a lightly colored sauce forms and the pasta is evenly coated.
Divide among individual plates; sprinkle each portion generously with pepper. Serve hot.
Note: To make the author's version of chorizo, combine 1 1/2 pounds of coarsely ground pork shoulder, 1 tablespoon of sweet smoked Spanish paprika, 2 teaspoons of hot smoked Spanish paprika, 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of fennel seed, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1/4 cup of red wine and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Use your clean hands to blend the mixture thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 week. To cook the chorizo, shape it into small patties, take pinches of the mixture or roll it into meatballs; fry in a skillet until cooked through.
Nutrition per serving (with cream): 950 calories, 40 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 69 g fat, 28 g saturated fat, 320 mg cholesterol, 1570 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar.
Per serving (with low-fat milk): 820 calories, 41 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 53 g fat, 19 g saturated fat, 260 mg cholesterol, 1570 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar.