Local Portland chef Josh McFadden of Ava Gene’s has one recommendation for breakfast when it comes to curing your St. Paddy’s Day hangover. And that is spaghetti carbonara. Okay, maybe he’s not the true Irishman that his name suggests (McFadden actually hails from the Midwest), but his instincts serve him well.
Although spaghetti carbonara isn’t your typical breakfast fare, McFadden tells Deena Prichep of NPR that the dish is a whole lot more familiar than you might think. “It’s literally the same thing as taking toast, putting an egg on the toast, and then putting said toast in your mouth. And with coffee? Amazing.”
If you think about it, you can begin to see his point. The carb-loaded noodles are the replacement for your more familiar slice of toast, and the other breakfast building blocks – eggs, bacon, and cheese- are identical to the ones you’d reach for during a hangover breakfast.
Plus, the recipe might be even easier to put together in your impaired state than a more traditional American breakfast.
All you have to do is cook up some noodles (usually spaghetti) and toss them in with some beaten eggs, cheese (Parmigiano or pecorino Romano), and cooked pork of your choice (guanciale, pancetta, and bacon are all good choices).
Don’t worry about raw eggs though. The hot pasta and the sizzling pork fat will cook the eggs and leave you with a silky sauce that is creamy and satisfying.
The Rules of Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara is one of those miracle one-pot dishes that really has no origin. Scholars place its advent sometime after World War II, but there are so many variations on the recipe that it is difficult to come up with a definitive “right way” to make it which makes it even more difficult to trace back its lineage.
However, there is one things that all chefs agree on. Spaghetti carbonara does not contain cream – ever. The creaminess of the dish should come from the emulsion you get from tossing the eggs with the hot pasta and pork fat.
While it can take a few tries to perfect the texture (you may want to make it once or twice when you’re not hungover), once you get the hang of it, it shouldn’t cause you too many problems. Even if you are a little worse for wear.
Chef McFadden adds that to really kick it up a notch and transform this dish into an all-American breakfast, all you need is a little shake of hot sauce. Especially when you serve it as a morning-after breakfast.