Showing posts with label Spaghetti Carbonara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spaghetti Carbonara. Show all posts

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Asking for Murder by Roberta Isleib #recipe #confession

LUCY BURDETTE: All this week I'm celebrating the publication of ASKING FOR MURDER, my third advice column mystery, as an ebook. These books (written as Roberta Isleib), star a clinical psychologist who also writes an advice column. The character, Rebecca Butterman, is close to my heart, as she does the kind of psychotherapy work that I used to do. She's also a very good home cook--in ASKING FOR MURDER, she makes a wonderful meal for a man she is sort-of dating, a good friend, and a murder suspect whom she wants to grill. Cooking not only helps her think, it shows people she cares about how much she loves them, and gives her something to do while grilling bad guys. So her spaghetti carbonara is what I wanted to make for you today:

 "I diced the pancetta and scraped it into the frying pan, then began to mince an onion, the first Vidalia of the season. The hot oil would bring out the sweetness—a luscious contrast to the salty Italian bacon and cheese." 

Are you swooning?

Unfortunately, this summer I've suffered with several serious bouts of vertigo and nausea, and finally had the problem diagnosed as Meniere's disease. This involves too much fluid in the inner ear. 

First line of treatment? A diuretic and LOW SALT DIET. Goodbye spaghetti carbonara! Goodbye olives and bloody Marys with the glass rimmed in salt! So long soy sauce and Chinese food. The list goes on and on. In fact, once you start reading labels (which I have to), you will be astonished and appalled at how much sodium gets packed into food. And as my brother said when I told him about this development: "But I love sodium! Sodium makes food taste good."

Sigh. But the symptoms are awful, so I have no choice. I will have to be cooking differently. And I thought there might be others of you who need to reduce salt in your diet for various reasons, and might find what I learn to be useful.

I'll start with the first thing I made--I needed protein and potassium and good easy food fast. So I made this:

Strawberry Banana Smoothie


1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen (I had frozen from the garden)
1 banana
1 cup plain yogurt or milk or some of each
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups of ice

Add the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. That's it! 

Something delicious and nutritious to sip on while reading Asking For Murder, which you can download right here.

-- Marilyn Dahl, Shelf-Awareness

It's springtime in Connecticut and psychotherapist Dr. Rebecca Butterman's fancy has turned to hamburgers...and murder, in Asking for Murder, the best entry of this series to date.

Jennifer Monahan Winberry, The Mystery Reader

Roberta Isleib's new novel Asking for Murder is a unique mix of murder mystery and psychological exploration. The characters are believable, likeable, and easy to relate to. The prose flows well and the dialogue is intelligent. I couldn't put this book down.

-- Jennifer Melville, Story Circle Book Reviews

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West foodie mysteries. KILLER TAKEOUT is coming next April, but is available for pre-order today

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Comic Book Carbonara: A Graphic Novel Pasta from Cleo Coyle

When I first met my husband, he whipped up a fantastic spaghetti carbonara that has since become part of our menu. Because he’s part Italian, and because both his mother and father taught him how to cook, I assumed his recipe came from one of them. Not so. Marc informed me that he found the recipe in a 1980's comic book.

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.
The comic was Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg!, launched in 1983. Fans of this series include Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon, who hailed Flagg as a precursor to the cyberpunk genre of science fiction.

Flagg is not for everyone. It presents a hard-boiled look at life in 2031—after nuclear war and an economic collapse leave things a tad chaotic in the USA. How bad do things get in Chaykin's 2031? One example: The broken down piano player who inhabits the local lounge is Princess Diana's oldest son.

As for today's recipe, spaghetti carbonara happens to be the favorite dish of Rubin Flagg, the comic book's hero. The recipe was published in the same issue that Rubin cooked it up. (Recipes included in fiction! Is that a good idea or what?) 

Carbonara also appears in
On What Grounds:
A Coffeehouse Mystery
Click here to learn more.
Marc made the recipe one day, and it is now part of our personal culinary history. Carbonara is also part of our publishing history because it plays a diverting role in our first Coffeehouse Mystery, On What Grounds. When two alpha male characters argue about the proper way to prepare the dish, our amateur sleuth (Clare Cosi) breaks up the deadlock before cleavers are thrown.

As far as this dish's actual history, pasta carbonara may not have originated in Italy. Some say Italian immigrants developed it in America during the Depression, which is easy for me to believe since my father, who grew up during that era, remembers the "old timers" throwing lard into the skillet to start everything from sautéed vegetables to pasta sauce. 

Some believe the dish was created during World War II, when ingredients common to American GI's—bacon, powdered eggs, and powdered milk—were handed out to hungry Italian citizens during the American occupation. (For more on the history of this dish, click here.)

Today Italians make this dish, which they call pasta alla carbonara, with raw eggs instead of cream (which is more commonly used in versions found in the US, France, Spain, and the UK). Italians also use pancetta or guanciale (types of Italian bacon). To each his own, as they say. And, when it comes to this recipe, our own is below...


Cleo Coyle's
Comic Book Carbonara

Adapted from the comic book series American Flagg!

To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.

With bacon and cream, you'd think this dish would be heavy, but it's very light and so delicious that a single bowl truly satisfies. Paired with a spinach or tomato salad, it's a complete meal for us. In the summer, we'll eat it as a late lunch or early dinner and simply finish the day with a fruit salad and frozen yogurt.

One last note: The pasta you see in my pictures is Garden Delight spaghetti from Ronzoni. It's enriched with tomato, carrot, and spinach, which provides a full serving of vegetables per 4 ounce portion. The flavor and texture were very nice and the colors let our eyes eat first. 


12 - 16 ounces spaghetti (usually 1 package)
(about) 8 ounces bacon (we use 5 thick-cut bacon slices)
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons heavy cream (+ a tiny bit extra, just in case)
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese
(optional) Ground pepper to taste


Step 1 – Make spaghetti according to package directions.

Step 2 – While your pasta water is coming to a boil, begin to make the cream sauce. Into a large skillet, slice up the bacon. I simply snip the bacon slices into ¼- to ½-inch pieces using kitchen shears. Turn the heat up to medium and begin to sweat the bacon pieces. After a few minutes, as the fat begins to render (but long before the bacon browns or crisps), toss in the garlic.

Sweat the bacon and
toss in whole garlic cloves...

Step 3 – When the bacon is browned and cooked through (but not crisp or dry), remove the garlic cloves and drain the bacon grease out of the pan. Set aside and finish cooking your spaghetti. When the spaghetti is completely drained, set aside and finish the sauce.

Step 4 – To the pan with the cooked bacon, add a tablespoon of butter. As soon as the butter melts, stir in the cream. Simmer the mixture until it thickens. If the sauce breaks, simply add a bit more cream and stir again.

Remove the garlic, drain the bacon fat,
toss in a pat of butter and the cream...

Step 5 – Add the cooked and drained spaghetti to the large skillet. Pour the grated cheese over the pasta and toss...

Place a pepper grinder and a small bowl of grated cheese
on the dinner table for guests to finish their plates to their taste.
Then plate that pasta up and...

Eat with joy! 

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
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Our hardcover bestseller
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*Starred Review ~ Kirkus
"Top Pick" ~ RT Book Reviews
"A highly satisfying mystery" - PW

Billionaire Blend
A Coffeehouse Mystery

This culinary murder mystery features
more than 30 delicious recipes, including
secret "off the menu" coffee drinks.
Read (and eat) with joy!

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