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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

A Recipe Swap: Pasta Carbonara #FoodieReads

During COVID, I read a lot. A. Lot. It was welcome distraction from being isolated from everyone besides my three guys. Novels by Fiona Grace were quick reads and most were placed in Italy. Yeah, I kept reading them. I recently came across a new-to-me one: Aged for Murder by Fiona Grace. So, I downloaded it on my Kindle and breezed through it.

Aged for Murder

Most cozy mysteries are pretty formulaic - cute, funny, and full of twists and turns. They always include a dead body and, usually, a woman who knows nothing about crime-solving who is determined to do so.

When Olivia's professional and personal lives come crashing down around her, she packs up and heads to Tuscany to stay with her life-long friend. She gets a job at a local winery and one of the other employees ends up dead. Remember what I said in the paragraph above? Olivia is determined to solve the crime, most especially because she has been identified as the main suspect in the murder.

As it's set in Italy, there is a lot of food mentioned. "The fragrant notes of roasted garlic, thyme, rosemary. The rich aroma of gravy, laced with a mellow hint of wine. The mouthwatering scent of crusty bread, fresh from the oven."

And they send several evenings at the local pizzeria. "With such a shortage of space, Olivia was regretting having ordered a shared salad as well as the pizzas, but it was such a delicious mix of ingredients, including rocket, green beans, shaved Parmesan and red onion. Looking to make room, she moved the salt and pepper to the windowsill."

But what sent me to the kitchen was actually the clue that solved the murder - a recipe left in place of the secret formula for the winery's most desired red wine blend. After the victim stole the blend formula, he was killed to keep the theft hidden for as long as possible. What was left was the recipe for Pasta Carbonara.

A Recipe Swap

"'Step One: Put a large pot of water on to boil,' Marcello read. 'Step Two: Finely chop 100 grams of pancetta, removing any rind beforehand. Step Three: Beat three large eggs in a medium bowl, seasoning them with—' 'All right, all right.' Nadia grabbed the folder from him. 'There is no need to go through the entire recipe. We all know how to make pasta carbonara. What I want to know is why this is now here, and where is my wine formula?'"

So, I made my own pot of Pasta Carbonara for you!


serves 6 to 8

  • 400 grams pasta (I used a mixture of egg and squid ink pasta for a dramatic appearance)

  • water

  • 8 ounces cubed guanciale (cured pork jowl) or pancetta if you can't find any guanciale

  • olive oil, if needed

  • 5 medium eggs

  • 4 cups grated pecorino romano

  • generous amount of freshly ground black pepper

  • optional: Parmigiano Reggiano for serving


Bring salted water to a boil. And place your pasta in to cook.

In another pot, place the cubed guanciale and cook it until it has rendered its fat and it nicely browned. Some bits will be crisped, depending on your dice. The bottom should be slick with the fat. If it looks a little dry, you can add a splash of olive oil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and fold in the grated cheese. Add a generous amount of black pepper, approximately a teaspoon. Scoop in a ladle of the pasta cooking water and whisk to emulsify the sauce.

When the pasta is cooked, add a ladle of the pasta water to the guanciale and turn off the heat completely. The sauce will cook with the residual heat from the pasta and the guanciale.

Add the pasta to the pan and toss to coat with the guanciale fat. Pour in the egg mixture and use tongs to continuously toss. The cheese will melt and the sauce will be turn creamy and coat the pasta. That's what you want.

Once the pasta is nicely coated, add more black pepper and serve immediately.

I am adding this to the February #FoodieReads link-up.

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1 Comment

Wendy Klik
Wendy Klik
Feb 05

Pasta Carbonara is so quick, easy and delicious. Sounds like these cozy mysteries are as well.

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