Today, I heard a discussion on NPR about the current food shortage in the US.
There have been major droughts all across the US which, apparently, will cause a reduction in corn and soy crops this year.
This will impact the entire world.
And in the end it means, fundamentally, higher prices for meat...specifically beef.
It takes a lot of corn to get a cow to slaughter weight.
Which may mean that people won't be able to afford to eat so much red meat at home, and restaurant portions will have to be smaller.
Am I the only one who thinks that is NOT a problem?
The person being interviewed (sorry, can't remember who it was) actually said that the Chinese have moved up the food chain in the last few decades, and now consume more red meat per person than ever before.
Wouldn't it be better to be lower on the food chain - not only for the Chinese but for all of us - so that we ate LESS meat and MORE vegetables and fruit?
I suddenly see before me the beginning of a solution to the obesity issue that is running rampant in the so-called civilized world.
...and with that in mind, here's what I made for dinner tonight...
Carbonara with Courgettes
Grazie Jamie Oliver
I'm not entirely crazy...there was a smidgen of pancetta, but a little goes a long way.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 medium green or yellow courgettes
300gr penne rigate
2 large free-range or organic egg yolks
50 ml 35% cream
1 good handful freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 thick slices pancetta or lean bacon, cut into chunky pieces
A small bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped, flowers reserved (if you can get hold of flowering thyme)
Optional: a few courgette flowers
Before you start cooking, it's important to get yourself a very large pan, or use a high-sided roasting pan so you can give the pasta a good toss.
Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Halve and then quarter the courgette lengthwise. Cut out and discard any fluffy middle bits, and slice the courgette at an angle into pieces roughly the same size and shape as the penne.
Your water will now be boiling, so add the penne to the pan and cook according to the package instructions.
To make your creamy carbonara sauce, put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream and half the Parmesan, and mix together with a fork. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat a very large frying pan, add a good splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta or bacon until dark brown and crisp. Add the courgette and 2 big pinches of black pepper, not just to season but to give it a bit of a kick. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves, give everything a stir, so the zucchini is coated with all the lovely bacon-flavored oil, and fry until they start to turn lightly golden and have softened slightly.
It's very important to get this next bit right or your carbonara could end up ruined. You need to work quickly. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with the courgette, bacon and lovely flavors, then remove from the heat and add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water. Stir together quickly. (No more cooking now, otherwise you'll scramble the eggs.)
Get everyone around the table, ready to eat straightaway. While you're tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle in the rest of the Parmesan and a little more of the cooking water if needed, to give you a silky and shiny sauce. Taste quickly for seasoning. If you've managed to get any flowers, tear them over the top, then serve and eat immediately, as the sauce can become thick and stodgy if left too long.