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Thursday, July 16, 2009 05:15 pm

Egg, Garlic & Herb Pasta Sauce


This delicious and unusual pasta sauce is a favorite at my house, and takes only minutes to make. In fact, it has to be made quickly in order for the sauce and pasta to be combined at just the right moment. It’s not at all difficult, but the sequence and timing are crucial. Try it with one of The Food Mart’s artisanal pastas. Such pastas are usually made with old-fashioned brass dies (the extruders that the dough is pushed through to form varying shapes). The brass dies create pastas with much rougher surface textures which helps hold the sauce to them. It’s easy to see that rougher texture on the uncooked pasta. Spaghetti would be a good choice for this sauce, but so would many other shapes. However, it’s best to avoid using fresh pasta, which is too delicate. Dried pastas with a high semolina content work best.

Note: In this sauce the egg yolks are not completely cooked, so anyone with salmonella concerns shouldn’t eat this. Using very fresh eggs from chickens who are allowed to graze naturally (in other words not in CAFOs, confined animal feeding operations) largely minimizes the risk of salmonella contamination.

  • 6 very large fresh eggs, preferably free-range organic
  • 5 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 T. unsalted butter
  • 6 - 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Hot red pepper flakes to taste, optional
  • 3/4 c. freshly grated Parmegiano-Reggiano OR aged Asiago OR Pecorino Romano, plus additional for accompaniment at the table
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley
  • 1/4 c. minced fresh sage, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, either singly or in combination

In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium high heat and add the garlic and hot pepper flakes if using. Cook until the garlic is softened, but not browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and cool to room temperature.

 Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. While the pasta is cooking, return the skillet to the stove (without turning on the burner) and add the eggs one at a time, being careful not the break the yolks. Sprinkle with half of the herbs.

When the pasta is cooked to the “al dente” stage, turn the burner under the skillet to high, add ¾ c. of the pasta water, and cover the pan. Drain the pasta and place in a heated serving bowl. As soon as the egg whites are set, but while the yolks are still runny, pour the contents of the skillet over the pasta, add the cheese and toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with the remaining herbs, and pass additional cheese at the table.

Makes enough sauce for 1 lb. pasta

Adapted from a recipe in the Dean and Delucca Cookbook by David Rosengarten
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