Those Were the Days, My Friend

Is a picture – and a song – worth a thousand words? In this case, I think so.


Picture: Our grandson Silas and Andrea, his girlfriend, in Pietrasanta, Italy, enjoying sunny August days on the beach before their return to college

Song: the lovely and lovely-voiced Mary Hopkin, an 18-year-old Welsh woman recorded “Those Were the Days” in 1968 for the Beatles’ Apple label. Robert Goulet, Inglebert Humperdink, The Limelighters, and Bing Crosby all recorded the song – but later.

Recipe: Silas prepared and served Spaghetti Carbonara for the six college friends who were staying in Pietrasanta. He says they loved it! 🙂


Picture: Perhaps the picture should have been this photo Silas took of the sunset over the Ligurian Sea.

Song: Perhaps the song should have “Sunrise, Sunset…swiftly fly the years” from Fiddler on the Roof with a reminder of the poignant lyrics: “when did she get to be a beauty; when did he grow to be so tall?”

The sun sets over the Ligurian Sea

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

from “Sunrise Sunset” and Fiddler on the Roof

Seeing that photo of Silas and Andrea made me think of Annette Funicello and the 1965 movie Beach Blanket Bingo. In yet another nostalgia-filled blog, Andy in today’s Andy’s Corner reminisces about an evening long ago on a California beach – and about beach blankets.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Combining the pasta and eggs to get the properly cooked – and silky – eggs can be a bit tricky.  I’ve given you two options here.  One from Marcella Hazan, which is simpler, and one from Serious Eats, which is more complex.  Plus, we’ve suggested an easy way to make it vegetarian. Recipe adapted from SeriousEats

•  Diamond kosher salt 
•  12 oz dried spaghetti (using an entire 16 oz pkg is recommended by Serious Eats, but I like less)
•  1/2 – 3/4 c diced guanciale, pancetta, or bacon (about 3 -5 ounces) (or make it vegetarian by substituting about 1/2 c each of chopped mushrooms, carrots and peas.  And maybe add about 1/4 c of diced red pepper for nice color)
•  3 T olive oil, divided
•  2 whole eggs plus 6 yolks
•  1/4 c grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving
•  1/4 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
•  1 tsp black pepper
•  2 T chopped parsley (optional)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring, until al dente.

Meanwhile, combine guanciale (or pancetta or bacon) with 2 T olive oil in a large skillet and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until guanciale is crisp, about 7 minutes.

Technique from Marcella Hazan:

Break the eggs into the serving bowl in which you’ll be tossing the pasta. Beat them lightly with a fork, then add the Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, pepper, and the chopped parsley. Mix thoroughly. Add 1 T olive oil to the hot, cooked spaghetti, then add that to the bowl with the eggs and toss rapidly, coating the strands well. Stir 1/4 c white wine into the pancetta or bacon, reheat, then turn the pancetta/bacon mixture into the bowl of spaghetti and toss thoroughly again.

Technique from Serious Eats:

In a large bowl, whisk together whole eggs and yolks, Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and black pepper.

Using tongs and/or a strainer, transfer pasta to skillet with crisped guanciale and its fat; be sure not to drain boiling pasta water. Add remaining 1 T olive oil to pasta and stir to combine; let cool slightly. Scrape pasta, pork, and all the fat into the egg mixture. Measure 1/2 c pasta-cooking water and add to pasta and egg mixture. Stir well to combine.

Set mixing bowl over pot of boiling pasta water (make sure bottom of bowl does not touch the water) and cook, stirring quickly with tongs, until sauce thickens to a creamy, silky consistency. Remove from heat, season with salt if needed, and divide into bowls. Serve right away, topping with more grated cheese.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.


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