Tom Cruise gave me this recipe.
No, seriously. One day in 1996, I was watching Oprah. I always watched Oprah. In 1996, my schedule went like this: school, tennis, Route 44 Dr Pepper, batter crumbs from Long John Silver’s, Oprah.
In 1996 I was also obsessed, along with my pal Morgan, with Interview with the Vampire. I lived within walking distance of the movie theater, and we went to see that movie at least four times. To add a tangent to a tangent, this film also marked the beginning of the Brad Pitt Obsession of 1996. Once, we made Morgan’s mom go to the local video store and check out every Brad Pitt movie they had. I should probably apologize for that now.
As you may recall, pretty much everyone thought Maverick had been miscast as the Vampire Lestat, including the character’s originator, Anne Rice. However, Tom totally delivered. In fact, it was Interview with the Vampire that made me a Tom Cruise fan. He was feline, cunning, sexy, homoerotic, intense, fearless. It was an amazing performance. It was like a French-speaking, blood-sucking cross of Alan Cumming and Robert Plant.
Anyway, to promote the film, Tom Cruise appeared on Oprah. And he shared his pasta carbonara recipe with her. Don’t believe me?
That recipe always stuck with me, and one recent weeknight, very hungry but at a loss for dinner ideas, I decided to make Tom’s carbonara from memory. Of course, as with most recipes I adapt, the only substantial changes here are the substitution of shallots for Tom’s onions, and the addition of cream. Oh, and I used linguine – but you could use whatever pasta you have on hand.
And, don’t forget: the vampire Lestat revealed that his kind are not really affected by garlic, after all. So put plenty in there!
The Vampire Lestat’s Carbonara
1 lb. linguine
1 tsp olive oil
~6 bacon rashers
1-2 cloves garlic, micned
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large, salted pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and stir thoroughly.
2. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, fry bacon in olive oil over medium heat until done and crispy. Set aside.
3. Skim some of the bacon grease out of the pan (you will probably have too much); drain and refrigerate for later use. Using about 1 tsp of remaining bacon grease, reduce heat to low and sauté the shallots and garlic for about two or three minutes, until fragrant. Do not burn.
4. By now, your pasta should be done (cook approximately 6-7 minutes, or follow package instructions for al dente). Drain and return to pot. Stir in the shallots and garlic. Crumble bacon into pasta in small pieces. Crack two eggs into the pot, add pepper, and stir thoroughly. Cover and set aside for 3-4 minutes. The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs.
5. Once the egg is completely cooked, remove the cover and stir in cream and half the parmesan. The mixture should be rich, but still fairly light on the pasta.
6. Serve immediately, garnished with a dusting of extra cheese. Black olives are also a favorite at my house (as pictured).