Friday, 26 August 2011

Recipe Time: Better than Boring Pasta

Hi Bloggies, it's been a few days.  I am on the last day of my maternity leave and my head is all over the map and I need some time to sort out what I am feeling before I post about that.  What I have opted to share with you is my spin on the Carbonara.  While most North Americans believe the carbonara is heavy and creamy, it's not.  The basic recipe is olive oil, an egg, garlic and a little pancetta.  Salty and garlicy and yummy.  I however feel the need to add colour so I tend to add a lot of veggies (to my Italian husband's cries "This is not a carbonara"! ) It's a really fast pasta meal, loaded in veggies that just makes me and my tummy sing.  So here is what you will need:

Your favourite 450g bag of pasta.  (I use penne a lot because I can get it whole grain and it's easier for my little girl to eat.)
4 tbsp olive oil (good quality stuff as this is your sauce)
5-6 Garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 small onion, chopped
Something salty by way of prosciutto, pancetta, bacon etc. (A local deli would give you the ends of the meat for practically nothing if you ask.  You don't even need it sliced because you are just going to chop it finely.)  I would say about 200 grams or 5 slices of bacon.
5 white mushrooms, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 crown of broccoli, chopped
Something leafy green, I like kale, chopped
1 handful or two of frozen peas
1 large egg
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan to taste

Firstly, get your pasta water going and boil your pasta according to package directions.

Then, in a large skillet, add olive oil and begin frying your garlic on medium heat.  After it gets a little fragrant add your proscuitto and onions.  Once the meat is crispy and the onions are translucent (about 3 minutes) start adding the rest of your veggies (except the leafy greens and  peas).  Once your veggies are nice and tender add your leafy green choice until they wilt.  Then throw in your peas to defrost but the remain sweet and tender.  Turn the heat off on your skillet.

By now your pasta should be cooked. Drain the pasta but keep a cup of the pasta water before you strain the pasta.  Just in case you  need to loosen the dish up a bit.  I use a really large skillet, this way I add the pasta directly into the veggie mixture.  Crack your egg on top of the pasta and begin to gently turn the pasta into the veggie mixture.  The egg should coat all the pasta and give it a silky texture.  The heat from the pasta will cook the egg.  If you feel as though your pasta doesn't gently slip around the skillet add a little of your starchy pasta water.  Just a dash at a time, until it is just how you like it.  Toss in your chopped basil and Parmesan and serve this beauty of a dish up.  And this time I remembered pictures folks.  I am getting better.  Super fast and a so satisfying.  Enjoy.

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