I just wrote about casesar salads being a mainstay in my late teen years. Carbonara was another favorite. I grew up in a university town so there was an entire strip made up of bars and in between those bars, you’d often find restaurants catering to large college appetites and even larger portions. There was one such place that was hidden down an alley and tucked into a basement. It had a gimmicky name but it was where I had my first taste of spaghetti carbonara. It was rich and salty and perfect. I not only craved carbonara, I dreamt about it.
I’ve made carbonara once before…but it was a wholly vegetarian affair with broccoli adding colour and a more healthy bent. When I found myself with a bit of bacon (not a common ingredient in this household), I decided not just to make a caesar salad but to go whole hog and make a traditional carbonara. When I described this dish to my husband he said, “oh, like a breakfast pasta!” and it really is just that: bacon and eggs and pasta. Well, with a bit of cheese and a lot of garlic added in for good measure. I also had some garlic scapes from our CSA so I threw those in for a bit of colour and for their subtle garlic flavour.
Now, this is a pasta where beaten raw eggs are thrown in to cooked pasta. You might assume that this could get slimy, but fear not. Use fresh eggs, of course (organic & free range is what I always buy), but the hot pasta gently cooks the eggs into a silky and rich sauce. That said, I certainly wouldn’t be serving this to anyone with a compromised immune system (including the very young, the very old or the very pregnant), just in case.
Elsewhere: Check out my recipe for a delicious & garlicy kale and chard raw salad. It’s over at Poppytalk and it makes full use of our CSA bounty. Also, over at ReadyMade, I’ve got a post detailing the not-so-illicit sour cherry trade. Got a great sour cherry idea? Leave a comment over there!
penne carbonara with garlic scapes
500 g penne
3 eggs (free range, organic)
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese + more for sprinkling
freshly ground pepper
4 slices bacon, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 garlic scapes, diced*
2 T parsley, chopped
1. Cook penne according to package instructions.
2. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl and whisk. Add in parmesan cheese and a lot of freshly ground pepper, whisking until combined. Set aside.
3. In a small frying pan, cook diced bacon until crisp, pouring the bacon and the fat into a bowl. Using the leftover grease in the pan, fry up the garlic and garlic scapes until fragrant, about 5 minutes over med-high heat. Set aside.
4. When penne is done, drain but do not rinse pasta under water (actually, never do that unless you are making pasta salad). Dump in the bacon along with the bacon fat and garlic scapes. Pour in the egg mixture and give everything a big stir, making sure pasta is well coated. Toss in parsley and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese. Serves 4.
* Dice up everything up to just below the flower. Throw out the tops which can be tough.