Friday, March 9, 2012

Cheap and Easy Weeknight Dinner Series: My Take on Pasta Cabonara

The other night bf and I were watching something on the tv and somehow he got a hankering for pasta carbonara. I've tried a lot of different recipes, including many pasta dishes with a cream sauce, but never a traditional carbonara. I guess I was a little intimidated by the eggs. Despite my concerns, we decided to give it a shot. It's incredibly fast and so darn delicious. Also, if you use whole wheat pasta (which has tons of fiber and protein) it's surprisingly healthy. We looked at a couple of recipes and sort of came up with our own version that included peas for some veg. It would also be great with asparagus. The only change I would make next time is I would add another dash of olive oil at the end or a small pour of pasta cooking water to keep the sauce a little more runny. Other than that, it is truly fabulous.

Pasta Cabonara
1 lb whole wheat pasta
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
8 slices turkey bacon
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2-1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste

First, whisk up four eggs and set the bowl aside. The steps move quickly towards the end so you want them to be whisked and ready.
 Then get your pasta water boiling and add the pasta. Cook until just under al dente and drain. Reserve some cooking water if desired.
In a large skillet (larger than this one if you are going to cook the onions and the bacon at the same time), start your onions and garlic. Heat up olive oil then add the onions and garlic.
 When the onions are starting to soften, move them to the side and add the chopped bacon. As you can see it would have been helpful if I had a little more room.
Return the drained pasta to the pot and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the frozen peas and toss over super low heat to defrost the peas and keep the pasta warm.
 When the bacon is crispy and the onions are lightly browned they are done.
 Add the bacon-onion mix to the pot and toss until nice and hot.
Over low, but not super low heat, add the eggs and stir or toss pretty vigorously. You want the eggs to thicken slightly, but keep them moving so they don't scramble.
Once the eggs thicken (they should get a nice milky or creamy consistency), add the Parmesan and stir/toss until incorporated. At this point next time I'll add a few more tablespoons of olive oil or a bit of cooking water.
Serve up with a sprinkling of Parmesan and a sprig of parsley if you are feeling fancy. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Our modest and magnanimous author was kind enough not to mention that *I* screwed up the recipe a bit. I thought it was a good idea to do the bacon and onion in the same pan. It was not. The bacon really didn't crisp up as much as it should have, but even so, the dish was very easy and delicious.

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