Thursday, December 13, 2012

Duck with Figs and Smoked Mozzarella Flatbreads and the world outside my window.

 
I spend a lot of time at home now.  The building where I normally spend most of my life remains a victim of super-storm Sandy (They are officially not calling it the hurricane anymore, must be some guy from an insurance company who though to down-grade it).  So I spend a lot of time in my home office, in virtual isolation.  Virtual, because that is what my word has become, a collection of electronic communication with the outside world.  My days are spent looking mostly at a computer screen with only a window view for entertainment.  Maybe it is not as exciting as the latest office gossip in the pantry, but it is starting to grow on me.
 I see the resident groundhog (named Jeffery by my son when he was a toddler, it must be that groundhog’s grand-son by now…we call him Jeffery still) make his daily food run.  He is exact in his timing, right on the dot at 9:30 a.m.  I swear, it seems like he is going off to the supermarket or something, coming back about an hour later and squeezing his furry fat behind under the shed.  He must be making stores for the winter sleep.  I feel a sense of kingship with the critter; I amuse myself by making stores in my fridge.  I swear, I must be storing stuff for the winter too, like the wildlife in my backyard.  So if I am not e-mailing or staring outside my window, I make slow roasted tomatoes and duck confit, because I now have 5 hs at home.  I make pizza dough and sauce and freeze it.  A few more weeks of this and I am going to be ready for hibernation.   While I cook I wonder how long do groundhogs live and whether one day he will get too fat for the little sliver of a hole.  He’ll be like Vinnie the Poo and I will have to go rescue him. 
I see squirrels squabbling in the trees, sometimes they make so much racket fighting I want to throw something heavy at them.  Do you know, that squirrels screaming and fighting is even more annoying than when your kids do it?
Now that the leaves are gone are get a full view of the high school behind my house.  I see the kids hurrying to and from class and enjoy the daily announcements (I can hear the loud speaker, so am very versed in all high school activities). I absolutely have no need for a clock in the mornings as the “Good morning, Old Bridge High school!” comes exactly at 7:30.   I find myself pledging allegiance to the Flag every day at 7:31, rain or shine, just because it becomes impossible to ignore the daily loud chant while pouring coffee.   And I guess, I am more trainable than I would like to think.  I also have no need for an outside thermometer as the teenage fashion outside my window provides virtually exact information.  It is what I know call the “Teenage Thermometer”, it works like this:
-          Above 50F the girls are wearing shorts and T-shirts, the boys are tying their T-shirts around their wastes and going bare-back
-          40F to 50F, some girls can be spotted in a light sweatshirt, boys are reluctantly putting their T-shirts back on
-          30F  to 40F, some rebel and start putting pants on, usually not the boys
-          Below 30F, the teenagers are mostly broken, all wearing sweatshirts now, some even carry a coat (notice, I did not say wear!), boys are still wearing shorts.
So I sit here and contemplate how this country manages the birthrate that it has, with all these youngsters freezing off their future reproductive parts… I really need to go back to the office!
Since I realistically cannot wait to use up all my stores in the spring, I made flatbreads out of pizza dough and loaded them up with crisped up duck confit, dried mission figs, slow roasted tomatoes, smoked mozzarella and arugula.  Turned out to be one of the tastiest treats I made in a while.
Duck with Figs and Smoked Mozzarella Flatbreads
2 cups of duck confit meat only, roughly chopped (follow the link to my recipe)
6-7 dry mission figs chopped fine
¾ cup of slow roasted tomatoes ( see Note)
1 cup smoked mozzarella cubed
1 cup fresh arugula
1 tbs olive oil
1 clove of garlic minced fine
 
Preheat the oven and either the pizza stone or quarry tiles to 500F.  Combine the duck and the figs and crisp up in the skillet for a few minutes.  Roll out your dough, depending on how thin you want the bread, but I would try for pretty thin if you want a crunch to your bread.  Combine the olive oil and garlic and brush the dough with the mixture, concentrating mostly on the edges.

Top with duck and fix mixture, sprinkle the slow roasted tomatoes and cheese evenly - Do not overload!.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until the crust is crispy and the cheese has melted. 

 
Once out of the oven, top with arugula and let the pizza rest a few minutes. Slice and serve, preferably with a nice wine!
Note: Slow roasted tomatoes -  I like to use small cherry tomatoes or plum tomatoes for this.  Cut and seed the tomatoes into 1 inch cubes (if using cherry ones, just split them in half).  Seed the tomatoes well, getting out as much juice as possible.  Spread on an baking sheet covered with foil.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, Pepper and a few pinches of sugar and bake at 250F for 2.5 to 3 hrs.  Store in fridge in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
 

 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Spicy Lamb Meatballs two ways

 
 
When it comes to food and feeding a family on the daily basis it is nice to have a few recipes on hand that are true multitaskers. Something that can be just popped on the stove or into the oven quickly for a nice dinner.  Or a quick appetizer that is good for friends on a Friday night.  Contrary to a popular belief, I don’t feed my family restaurant style food on a daily basis, I too sometimes run into the need to use pre-made frozen meals.  The difference is I make them myself.  When making dumplings, meatballs, pasta, sauce… just make a little more, or a lot more and the next time you have to work late make use of your own freezer for a delicious dinner.  (I sound like Rachel Ray and her 30 minute meals).
Spicy Lamb meatballs
2 lbs of ground lamb (do try to ground the meat yourself, I cringe to think what goes into the already ground up stuff you get from the market – I guess I read too much about where our food comes from)
¾ cup of bread crumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 medium shallot grated or finely chopped
1 tbs of Harissa
1 tsp of toasted cumin
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp of chili powder
2 tbs of Worstershire sauce
2 tbs chopped parsley
½ tbs of olive oil
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste (take it easy on the salt, the cheese and worstershire sauce are salty as is)
Mix all the ingredients together until they just make a uniform mixture.  Do not overwork or your meatballs will be thought.  Roll meatballs gently, the size of golf balls or slightly smaller.  Arrange on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake at 350F until nicely browned.  As these bake, depending on the fattiness of your lamb, these may render a lot of fat.  If that is the case, dry the meatballs on paper towels before proceeding with the next steps.
Once your meatballs are browned about 30 min, you can let them cool and freeze them in a zip-top bag until that wonderful night when you do not feel like making dinner from scratch.  It really helps to have these things tucked away in your freezer along with home-made sauce.
Spicy roasted pepper sauce
3 large roasted peppers skins and seeds removed.
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 tbs of tomato paste
1 tbs of harissa
1 tbs of olive oil
1 medium onion diced
4 garlic cloves diced
1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
¼ tsp of roasted cumin
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tbs of sugar
1 cup of dry white wine
1 cup of chicken stock
Salt and Black pepper
Run the roasted peppers through a food processor or a food mill until fully crushed.  Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet or a heavy bottom pot with a large surface area.  Add the onion and sauté on low heat until soft.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the white wine, harissa and tomato paste, stir and let cook out on medium heat for a few minutes.  Add tomatoes, peppers, chicken stock and all the seasoning.  Stir and bring to a simmer.  Taste and adjust seasoning for salt of needed.  If the sauce is too spicy add a squirt of lemon or if it is too acidic, a bit more sugar.  Simmer on low for 5 minutes.  Add the meatballs, cover and simmer for 30 minutes on very low heat, stirring occasionally.  If using frozen meatballs, there is no need to defrost them, just simmer them in the sauce a bit longer, around 45 minutes. 
The sauce can be made separately and frozen in well covered containers for up to 30 days.
 
 
I like to serve these meatballs and sauce simply over brown rice with crispy kale chips on top for crunch and freshness. 
 
 
Now, let’s talk about crispy Kale.  Kale is good for you, Kale is your friend and if you happened to frequently experience cravings for salty, crunchy crap from a vending machine, these leaves can become your best friends… no frying required.  If you want an ultimately healthy substitution to a potato chip, you are 30 minutes away from snack heaven. 
Crispy Kale chips.
As much Kale as you like – you can bake up 10 batches at once, depending on the size of your oven
Enough olive oil to coat your palms (usually no more than ½ tbs is needed)
Coarse salt
Preheat the oven to 250F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Trim the stems off the kale, leaving just the leaves.  Rub olive oil between your palms than rub each kale leaf between your palms, evenly coating both size with a minimum of oil.  Arrange on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until Kale becomes glossy, crumbly and crispy.  No turning needed.  Let it cool and crumble upon whatever dishes you like for salty, crunchy texture.  Or eat just like that as a snack.  Beats potato chips any time.
 
 
There are infinite possibilities on how to serve these meatballs, they can become anything from a star of an main dish to a nice appetizer byte.  Here is how I served them at Thanksgiving… over a spicy beet salad (Follow the link to a recipe), garnished with cool yogurt sauce ( just Greek yogurt, dill, chives and salt) to tame the spice.  All nestled in a byte size lettuce leaf (Small romaine would work here, better than Boston lettuce I used).
The next time you are reaching for a bag of Swedish meatballs, consider the alternatives

 

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Thanksgiving (update).



In case anyone out there is wondering, my Thanksgiving was a great success.  Believe it or not every single thing on that crazy menu of mine got made and from what I can tell, was delicious.  The had to be a few minor substitutions of course.  First of all, the scallop crudité had to become a red snapper ceviche as I could not find scallops good enough to serve raw anywhere.  And the fried green plantains I wanted to serve with the ceviche had become so ripe by the time I was ready to fry them, they were just a big mess, so nice crostini and chips were served instead.  The pistachio éclairs did not happen either as the universe had prevented me ( very wisely, I may add) from getting to the “Whole-in-your-wallet” grocery store ( you know the one I am talking about), hence I could not get pistachio paste and good quality nuts, so I just made empty éclairs with glaze and pearlized sugar on top… who needed the cream after that meal anyway!

So here are a few highlights.
A beautiful ( and still empty ) table before the guest arive
 
The kitchen elves hard at work ( I wish I had more of them)
One of the best things I ever made was that Pork Shoulder that was part of the salad stuffed into those mushrooms.  The salad was watercress, roasted butternut squash and roasted red peepr.  The whole thing was finished with a sauce I made from recuing the braiaing liquid of the pork.
This was the Pork Shoulder roasted in Apple Cider and aromatics. This is a suclant perfection of sweet, savory and spicy.  I thought I was crazy to roast a whole shoulder for a few pieces used in a salad, totally worth it - it is the kind of thing you can pick at all day until there is nothing left.
 
Goat and blue cheese stuffed puffs
Rustic bread served with another favorite Salmon Rillett
Which by the way makes the most amazing spred for breakfast, lunch or a late night fridge raid

Edemmame stuffed dumplings with spicy peanut sauce.  Always a favorite in my house.
A refreshing Red Sanpper Mango ceviche
Another favorite in my house -  Seared duck breast with Fig Blasamic glaze and Arugula and Rasberry salad with spiced peppitas
This one was crowned by the hubby as a personal favorite.  Unfortunally the finished product did not photograph well but these were the
Mini-lamb meatballs with spicy beet slaw and yogurt saucefor which I promise to post a recepie on the recepie page soon.
And the reason we are all gathered here today....
Hands down the best turkey I ever cooked.
 
And a few notes on desert:
 
A pretty rose apple tart
The empty eclairs with glaze and pearl sugar on top
The makings of cranberry truffles ( these delicius tart balls were dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts)
 
And most importantly a table to gather your family around to be thankfull for all the good and to be wize about all the bad.  To share a laugh, to tell a story, to be together.... That was my Thanksgiving.

P.S.  I promise the recipes in the near future - whatever near I can master.
 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving… where do I start?


I don’t put too much weight on holidays.  Birthdays come and go ticking away years and producing yet another reason to frown at your wrinkles in the mirror.  Anniversaries pass by largely forgotten and kicked to the side of the road.  New Year eves, although mostly fun, blend together in a spiral of booze and obscene costumes.  Thanksgiving is the only holiday when I truly look around and take stock of my life.  I celebrate everything that’s good in it and look back with some wisdom on what is bad.  Thanksgiving is when I go all out… for the ones who choose to celebrate it with me.
This has been a tough year, for me, for my family.  We lost loved ones, we fought, we battled home renovations (which should be equated to a natural disaster) and we endured natural disasters as well, straining me to the point of hysterics.  Now with only a few days left before Thanksgiving, I am mortified that I will not be able to put on my show ( in truth, I am mortified every year, but pour a bit of wine in me and it always miraculously works out).
I usually start my Thanking menu planning in mid-October, but now with only a few days to go, I am still playing with menu ideas and frantically trying to put a shopping list together that is now all of three pages long.  So here is this 2012 Thanksgiving menu.  Hopefully it will all work out and actually get made ( where those elves when you need them?).
 
 
Starters.
Fig and Berry glazed Duck Breast salad with arugula, raspberries and spiced peppitas
Mini-lamb meatballs with spicy beet slaw and yogurt sauce
Goat cheese puffs
Spicy lemony olives
Smoked Salmon toasts with honey mustard butter
Mango Scallop crudité served with fried plantain chips
Mushrooms stuffed with miso-glazed pork belly and squash salad

Harrissa deviled eggs
Edemame dumplings with spicy peanut sauce
Spinach and tomato confit roulades
Irish soda bread served with chicken liver mouse and salmon rillettes


Main course
Apple-cider and ginger brined turkey
Orange cranberry sauce
Chipotle caramel root vegetables
Parmesan and roasted garlic mashed potatoes
Wilted spinach with pears and pomegranate gremolatta
Fig corn bread

Wheat berry and corn salad with bacon and mushrooms
Haricot vert with roasted hazelnuts

Desert
Apple gallette
Salted Caramel grape pie
Spicy orange chocolate mousse with whipped crème fresh and pine nut brittle
Rum Pecan pie
Cranberry Truffles
Pistachio éclairs
Fresh fruit


If anyone knows of a good place to go into a food induced coma, speak now….

My Thanksgiving starts when I begin cooking and I always begin by making stock.  You can make stock weeks, even months ahead, frozen it will keep up to 6 months.  For me, home-made stocks are essential; I stopped buying the store-bought kind a long time ago.  There are just no shortcuts in making it, but the rewards are countless.
You cannot rush stock, it takes hours, as many as you got, you cannot cook stock too long.  The longer you cook it, the more concentrated the flavor gets, your sauces will taste deeper and richer.  And good stock does not come from meat, it comes from the bones, a great way to use up the entire animal.
 

These are the stocks to have in your freezer at all times:

1.        Chicken Stock

-          One full chicken or the bones from two or more birds

-          1 onion whole

-          3 ribs of celery

-          2 carrots

-          5 cloves of garlic

-          1 small parsley root

-          1 tbs of pepper corns

-          2 tsp of salt ( see Note)

-          5 springs of fresh thyme
 

Put all the ingredients in a large pot ( I don’t even bother peeling the vegies, the stock gets strained anyway).  Cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, skim the shmutz off the top and reduce to a barely visible bubble ( Do not cover your pot, the stock will be cloudy, at least that’s what my mother always said).  Simmer on very low heat anywhere from 2 to 5 hours.  When done, strain the stock into containers and freeze right away if not using.

If you are using a whole chicken, you might ask “What do I do with all the meat”.  For goodness sake, don’t throw it away, it is moist and delicious and can be used for chicken salad, for pasta filling, grind it up, brown it with butter and a shallot and mix with pasta.  As a last resort, give it to the dog….

2.        Veal stock

-          Veal bones ( 6 or 7 if small)

-          2 tbs of olive oil

-          3 tbs of tomato paste

-          1 onion whole

-          3 ribs of celery

-          2 carrots

-          5 cloves of garlic

-          1 small parsley root

-          1 tbs of pepper corns

-          2 tbs of salt ( see Note)

-          5 springs of fresh thyme

-          A handful of fresh parsley

Smear the bones with olive oil and tomato paste.  Roast in 425F oven for 1.5 – 2 hrs until the bones are deep brown color.  Once done, remove the marrow ( reserve for another use).  Place the bones and all other ingredients in a large pot.  Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook for 6 to 8 hrs on a very gently simmer, periodically skimming off the shmutz from the top.  Strain and freeze right away.

3.        Duck stock

Duck stock is made exactly like the chicken stock, except only the bones are used.  First of all, you do not want to waste any of the beautiful meat for stock.  Also, all the skin and fat would make the stock too oily.  So do what I do, learn to debone a duck ( I am so proud of myself now that I can do it in 10 minutes or less).  Reserve the legs for the confit.  Reserve the breasts for searing.  Take off all of the remaining skin and fat, place in a glass, oven proof dish and roast at 350F until most of the fat is rendered.  Strain the fat and part yourself in the back for acquiring culinary equivalent of gold, without spending an extra penny.  Now you are left with only bones, follow the steps for chicken stock ( I sometimes omit the garlic from my duck stock, I find that it interferes with the gaminess of the stock)

 

4.        Dashi – This is a staple of Japanese cooking and is used as a foundation for broths, sauces and glazes. It gives an absolutely unique umami flavor so I highly recommend it.   It is not a pretty stock, so strain it extra well ( I use a cheesecloth).
 

-          2 large strips of Nori ( this is a dried seaweed sold in all Asian markets.  There are many varieties and you will just need to experiment and find the one you like most.  If in doubt, look for a package that specifically, in English, says “for Dashi”

-          2 cups bonito flakes ( this is a shaved cured tuna. It is funky smelling but don’t get discouraged.  You can buy it at almost any Asian store or on-line.
 

Place Nori and bonito flakes in a medium pot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  Strain very well.

5.        Shellfish stock

Next time you are eating lobster or peeling shrimp, don’t throw away the shells.  Cooked or not, they have all the flavor.  Place them in a pot with some onion, celery, black peppercorns and a little salt and simmer the hell out of them for at least a few hours.  Strain and freeze.  This stock makes for a great sea food risotto or anytime you want to enhance a sea food dish.  Trying boiling your pasta in it… you will see.

Note:  I prefer to either not salt my stocks or salt them very little.  When you use them in recipes you will be adding salt anyhow and it helps to have a blank canvass.  I do not add any salt to Dashi, the stock will probably taste pretty bland, but the saltiness of the bonito will come out once the stock reduces. 


               Wish me luck in this year's cooking project.   I hope to post after the holiday with the update on how it all turned out.  I think, I will need  a few days of rest though….

 

Friday, November 9, 2012

When the lights go out…


When Hurricane Sandy racked havoc on the North East last week and everything went dark, I learned a few things…
I learned that the first few hours of darkness are actually the brightest ones.  As the house is still warm, and the twinkle of candlelight and fire is romantic.  You can sit and play board games and joke about the “adventure” of it all, but as you listen to the wind howling outside I little worm of worry starts to uncoil in your chest.  Your mind starts to conjure up bad and worse case scenarios and you start taking a mental note of your supplies.  “Maybe it will not be as bad as they predict” should be right up there with “Oops!” as famous last words.
I learned that even after a day or so of darkness, as it gets colder, as long as you have a fun crowd to “survive” with… it is not so bad.  You can communally cook the contents of each other’s fridges in a bazar pot-luck style of ingredients waiting to go bad without the icebox. 
I learned that the site of cars lined up for miles to get gas, people, swaddled in their warmest, standing in endless lines with canisters, waiting…., police escorting every gasoline track… give me the creeps.  And not the kind of creeps you would get at the horror flick, the other kind, the cold on the inside, imagine the end of the world kind.  The kind that makes me want to hug my kids and move some place where nothing bad can ever happened… I wonder if Idaho is taking immigrants.
I learned that throwing out everything in your fridge is much harder than it sounds.  A week before the storm I made a freezer full of stocks, beautiful, perfect stocks, made the right way, for hours… all gone.  All my stashes of exotic meats in preparation for Thanksgiving… gone.  All  the little things I always have on hand in my fridge, condiments, jams, sauces, things I know I almost never have to buy… gone.  It made me sad, I hate to waste good food, especially if I worked so hard to hoard it.
I learned that, as the dark and cold lingers, your house, your home feels like an enemy.  The place of comfort and security turns on you and you feel bitter and resentful within it’s walls.
I learned that friends will offer to take you in, even with your dog, offering him various degrees of confined accommodations.  One more day of the cold and the dog would have stopped holding out for a better offer.
I learned that once the lights do go on, shopping from scratch, to fill a completely virgin fridge is quite challenging, considering the supermarkets closely resemble “a-day-after-the-end-of the-world” scene. 
But most importantly, I learned that there is no better feeling in the world, than driving up to your home on a stormy night (the heck, any night) and seeing the light in the window.  To open the door and feel the warmth and a smell of cooking.  To be home…

My heart goes out to all who have lost their homes in this disaster.  I wish them a speedy and smooth recovery, which they so deserve….

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pasta Carbbonara to weather the storm…again.

 
Last year I posted an ultimate comfort food - pizza to weather hurricane Irene.  This time as all of North East is bracing for impact of hurricane Sandy, I wonder if maybe these threats are coming more often now than they did before.  Or maybe there were storms in the past and I just didn’t pay much attention being younger and more light-minded.  The news keeps referring to a major storm of 1991 and I don’t even recall it… I was too busy being a teenager I guess.
Anyway, I figured while I still have power I might as well cook something yummy, heavy and as comforting as a goose blanket on a cold night.  The kind of food that can ward off any storm, mostly because you’ll end up sleeping right through it.  A piece of warning- this is not a light food by any means and should be consumed with caution and only in the case of a nature’s fury.  Other than a hurricane, the only other reason to make this is probably a snow storm.
Crack open a bottle of special wine and you can stare into an eye of any storm and not even blink.
And speaking of wine, you might want to pair it with something a bit spicy and full-bodied to cut down some of the richness.  A nice Syrah or Brunello goes very well with the creaminess of the sauce.
Pasta Carbonara being one of the creamiest sauces out there contains no dairy of any kind.  It is basically bacon and eggs served with noodles.  It cooks in 10 minutes (assuming you are not making the pasta at the same time) and basically requires four ingredients. 
I made my own noodles but you can use fresh or dried pasta of any kinds.  Spaghetti or Bucattini  works the best because of the ways the sauce coats the strands.  I made Bucattini, which is a thicker spaghetti with a whole in a middle.
Making good pasta requires a lot of experimentation.   Sheet pasta dough used for stuffed pasta or for papadelli is more forgiving, but if you are making the extracted pasta such as spaghetti, the right texture is key.  I use the King Arthur pasta flour blend, it has a nice balance of semolina and “00” flour.  
For the pasta:
Makes about 5 -  6 servings
3 ¼ cup of King Arthur Pasta flour blend + more for kneading and dusting the ready pasta.
4 extra large eggs
1 or 2 tbs of water ( if needed)
For Carbonara sauce:
¼ lbs of Pancetta diced into ¼ inch cubes or julienned into strips
¼ lbs of bacon diced
5 extra large eggs
½ cup of shredded parmesan cheese
½ cup of shredded pecorino cheese
A handful of frozen or fresh peas ( optional)
3 whole garlic cloves
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste

 
Prepare the pasta dough.  In the food processor fitted with a dough blade, mix the flour and the eggs until the dough comes together.  If it is so dry that it is crumbling instead of forming a ball, you can add 1 or 2 tbs of water, but I urge caution as the dough should be very dry.  Turn out the dough onto a work surface dusted with flour and knead until smooth.  Cover with plastic and let rest at least 30 minutes.

 
When ready to make pasta cut the ready dough into 5 or 6 pieces and generously flour each before putting through a pasta machine.  Once the pasta is extracted, separate it carefully and dust with more flour.  At this point, you can either hang your pasta to dry (the back of a chair works great for this) or lay it out to dry in bird-nests. 

 
You should let the pasta dry about an hour, longer if you can manage it.  You can also freeze the pasta at this time.
 
 
When ready to make assemble the dish, make sure the pasta water is generously slated and boiling before you begin making the sauce.  When making Carbonara, thongs move rather quickly.
To a deep large skillet, add bacon and pancetta and whole garlic cloves and cook on medium until most of the fat has been rendered and the pieces are turning crispy.  Set aside and do not discard the rendered fat.  You do not want to let the fat cool either it needs to be hot enough to cook the egg, so you can keep the skillet on super low flame.

 
In a bowl whish the eggs, cheeses and black pepper until smooth.
Discard the garlic from the bacon mixture.
Boil the pasta for 2 min (if using peas you can throw them into the boiling water with the pasta), than drain and add to the skillet with bacon and pancetta.  Toss to coat all of the pasta evenly with the fat.  Turn off the heat and add the egg mixture.  Using a wooden spoon beat the egg mixture very quickly into the pasta.  The heat from the noodles and the fat will cook the eggs turning a whole thing into a creamy paradise. 
Taste the sauce, most likely it will not require additional salt as there are too many salty elements such as bacon and cheese, but you can always adjust seasoning to your taste

 
Serve with a bit of fresh ground pepper, more shredded cheese ( if desired) and be ready to take a nap right after…
Now if this does not stick to your bones and keeps you cozy in bad weather, I don’t know what will.