Monday, March 4, 2013

Welcome to Bite Club.

Can I just say I am SO excited to be writing this first post? Because I am SO EXCITED TO BE WRITING THIS FIRST POST. Starting this blog has been a process of patience, design, decisions and taste testing, but here we are at last! Welcome! 

I'm torn between waxing dramatic about my hopes and dreams here or just cutting it out and getting down to the cooking. As a rule, I know that bacon conquers all, so let's get to the pots and pans instead. (Yes, keep reading and I promise you bacon.)

This dish is everything I want to serve up as a first impression. It's not too complicated but it's not too simple. It's hearty and comforting with a twist of Canadiana. Also, it has mysterious historical origins. Who invented Carbonara? Soldiers? Coal miners? Nonnas with a serious love of breakfast food? Google it, and you still won't know for sure. 

One thing most people agree on is that true carbonara sauce contains no cream. Just eggs, bacon (or pancetta), and oil, which when combined, make a silky rich sauce that coats each noodle to buttery, yolky perfection. Mine is no exception to this rule, but it does contain one special ingredient: maple syrup.

SAY WHAT? I know it sounds crazy, but let me explain.

I've been thinking about maple and pasta ever since I watched Elf this past Christmas. You know the scene where Buddy is eating spaghetti with his new family and he pours maple syrup all over it? Instead of being grossed out, or going batty and crumbling Pop Tarts onto my pasta (wtf?), I wanted a more elegant solution. Then I shoved the idea to the back of my head where algebra and other useless knick knacks hang out until I need them.

That was until I started this blog, and began the search for a unique recipe when the answer appeared right in front of my face. Here in Quebec, it is syrup season! The shelves of every grocery store are piled high with the stuff, from candies and spreads, to bottles and cans. It's maple mayhem, probably the best thing this weather has going for it, and it triggered something in my head. Are you ready for this?

Maple Bacon Carbonara
Serves • 4


• 2 eggs, room temperature
• 1/2 - 2/3 cup parmigiano reggiano
• 500g dried spaghetti
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 pound bacon, sliced
• 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 1/2 onion, chopped
• 2/3 cup white wine
• 1/3 cup real Maple syrup
• salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine cheese and eggs. Beat well and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat, then add the bacon. Cook until just starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. Then, add in the garlic and onion, cooking until just beginning to soften -- about 1 minute.

3. At this point, the pan is going to be a crackling party of oil-y, bacon-y goodness. If your conscience is bothering you, drain off some of the fat, but leave at least 3 tbsp worth left in the pan! This is what makes primo pasta sauce, people. Trust. 

4. Oh yeah, you should get your pasta going too. (I found 500g is about 1 and 1/4 boxes of pasta.) Fill a big pot with water (salt the water!) and bring it to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente, or however long you feel like. I'm not the boss of you.


Add the wine to the bacon pan, and cook until it is reduced by half. At this point, add the maple syrup and turn the heat to low-- so it is bubbling gently, but not simmering.

6. Drain the pasta and put it in a large bowl, reserving about 1/4 of a cup of the hot water for tempering the eggs. What is tempering? Glad you asked! Here, it's the process of beating a little bit of the hot pasta water into the egg mixture, so that when we add it to the pasta, it doesn't scramble on contact. When I first made carbonara, I was freaked about this. 

If you're like me, when it comes to something with a possibility of failure, a little voice speaks up in the back of your head. If you're REALLY like me, that voice sounds like Gordon Ramsay screaming at contestants on Hell's Kitchen. Well, forget about those f-bombs, take a deep breath, and arm yourself with a fork or whisk. Beating the eggs rapidly, slowly stream the hot water into the mixture, until you're out of water. Easy. 

7. Now for part two of 'DON'T-SCRAMBLE-THE-EGGS-BECAUSE-GORDON-IS-WATCHING.' (Just kidding.) Add the egg mixture to the hot pasta bit by bit, tossing to coat quickly as you go.

 8. When this is done, you want to add the egg-y pasta into the bacon skillet and toss it until all combined.

 9. Add salt if it needs it, and lots of pepper. LOTS OF IT. Serve. Bask in the glory of maple.

It's just that easy, and just that awesome. If you don't believe me, you'll have to try it for yourself.
I cooked this one for myself and my roommate, Rebekah, who fantastically designed everything you see on the blog! It was risky, because she is not a self proclaimed 'pasta person'. However, upon trying her first bite, with me cliffhanging on her reaction, I watched her brain melt. Maple bacon-gasm. When she had finished, she even asked for a second helping.

If you're reading this, that means you read this post all the way through! (Or you scrolled through straight for the food porn, but whatever, I don't judge.) I can't thank you enough for checking it out in the first place!

The first rule of Bite Club is to talk about Bite Club, so if you like what you see, leave a comment, follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook or check me out on Foodgawker!


  1. hurray for first posts!!!! i am so excited for your blog, riley wiley! and I lurve it already. maple bacon is the bestest, and MAPLE BACON CARBONARA makes totes sense!!! The first time I made carbonara, I too wondered if I would scramble the eggs and end up eating... scrambled eggs and pasta.

  2. I think I am going to make this next week in honour of the opening of your new blog, of Canada, and on the fact that Steve loves bacon. LOVE THIS CANT WAIT FOR MORE NOMMSS!!!

  3. I'm excited to see what else you make!!! And see if the lad and I can make it without screwing it up lol!!!!

  4. Hi Riley, Uncle Mike was really surprised and happy to see, someone loves to cook as much as he does. I am having him over for a few days and we will try all your recipes. He was intrigued by this one. I have sent him the link. Don't be surprised if you hear from him. Aunt Theresa