"So I make pasta carbonara more than most any Italian food on the planet because it is my husband's favorite pasta or meal—both!—period. This version marries crab and end-of-summer sweet corn with the classic creamy sauce that in fact (traditionally) contains no cream at all. Tempering eggs or egg yolks with hot pasta water creates the silky, creamy consistency of the sauce," says Rach.
- 2 large ears corn on the cob, kernels cut from cob and any liquids from cob reserved
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- ⅓ pound smoked pancetta or meaty bacon, chopped into a fine dice
- 4 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- ¾ - 1 pound meat from king crab legs or lump crab, picked over for shells
- 1 lemon, zested (about 1 tablespoon) and juiced
- 1 bunch scallions, whites and greens finely chopped and separated
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 red chili, finely chopped (or 1 rounded teaspoon Calabrian chili paste, or 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes)
- About ¾ cup dry vermouth or white wine
- 1 pound spaghetti, bucatini or linguini
- 6 egg yolks
- About ¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for passing
- About ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for passing
- A handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Heat a large pot of water for pasta, 5-6 quarts.
Scrape the corn from cobs in a large bowl, balancing the cobs on a smaller inverted bowl to collect the kernels and their juice.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with about 3 tablespoons EVOO, 3 turns of the pan. Add pancetta and render about 3 minutes, add corn and its liquids and stir a minute, then add garlic, stir, add crab, lemon zest, scallion whites, thyme and chili pepper, paste or flakes, then stir a minute or 2 more. Add dry vermouth or wine and let it absorb.
Salt water and drop pasta and cook 1 minute less than package directions for al dente. Reserve 1 full cup cooking water just before draining.
Whisk egg yolks and cheeses, then add 1 cup cooking water to temper eggs.
Remove the crab and corn from heat, douse with juice of lemon, toss with pasta and the egg sauce, then add scallion greens and the parsley. Serve immediately with extra grated cheese to pass.