Remember that silky squash soup? Me neither. But in the fridge it lurked, and since exactly zero shopping has taken place since that post, I’m still in Pantry Embellishment Mode™. While tart crust is pretty easy, as we work our way down the hierarchy of staples (it’s like the circle of fifths) the pickings become slimmer and the labor required to produce a good meal increases along a curve of some sort. Ask someone who is good at math, or has too much time on his or her hands, or both. At the end of the curve (nice asymptote!) one finds oneself making adzuki-anchovy loaf garnished with freezer-burned corn, but here in the creamy middle, luxuriating in the presence of eggs, the sky is the limit.
So it was in this egg-potentiated tizzy that I seized upon the idea of a carbonara. First, a simple pasta dough enlivened with a goose of squash soup and unified with a rest in the fridge. Second, while the dough rested, a good mince of onion and guanciale to commingle in a pan until transparent, followed by garlic and a pinch of woody herbs. Then a splash of wine, the rest of the squash soup, a grate of Parmigiano, and a gentle simmer to thicken. Squash soup is a brilliant substitute for cream for things like this: unctuous, sweet, and mouth-filling, yet guiltless.
While the sauce reduced and united, Milo and I cranked out the pasta. He’s actually quite good at it, even helping to separate the reluctant strands of fettucine. We tossed it in boiling water, then fished it out and agitated it into the sauce with a handful of peas. Garnished with naught but good black pepper and a bottle of Pleiades (XVI, to celebrate the coming of the XVII) it satisfied and delighted. There are four more hog jowls drying over the sink, which is good, because I used just about the last of the previous batch of guanciale in this and would dearly hate to run out. Along with eggs, this would be one of my desert island pantry items; it makes so many wonderful things possible.