True Spaghetti Carbonara, from what I understand (and please correct me if I am wrong) is made with spaghetti, eggs, pecorino Romano cheese, and bacon or pancetta. This dish was a play on that tonight using penne and some fresh vegetables in place of the spaghetti.
The result was a perfectly light pasta dish that was delightful for dinner. I was a little wary of throwing a raw egg into something that was already technically done cooking – you put the egg and cheese on the cooked pasta after you drain it and let the heat of the cooked pasta cook the egg and melt the cheese. But, the egg cooked up just fine on the hot pasta. Why was I worried. And, this dish was just delicious! We all loved it! (Yes, all of us – even my two little peanuts!)
I served it with a caprese salad on the side. Yum!
Tomato and Asparagus “Carbonara”
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light September 2012
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
8 oz. pancetta, diced
1/2 c. pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
salt/pepper to taste
1 large egg
8 oz. multi-grain penne pasta
1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
Heat a large pot of water to boiling over high heat.
Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add asparagus and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Add tomatoes and pancetta and continue sautéing until tomatoes and asparagus are tender, about 5-6 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine egg, cheese, and salt/pepper. Stir with a whisk to blend.
When water is boiling, add pasta and cook to al dente (7-10 minutes). Drain pasta (DO NOT RINSE PASTA) and return to pan. Toss pasta with egg mixture immediately. Add tomato mixture, tossing until sauce thickens. Divide equally among plates and top with fresh basil. Serve immediately.
Husband Rating: 9 out of 10
Food for Thought: The original recipe had no pancetta in it and although we liked the flavor that it added, if you were looking for a “Meatless Monday” idea, you could easily leave that out. I think that there could be other vegetables that would be delicious in this recipe. Broccoli and spinach come to mind right away. What are your thoughts? What veggies do you think might work nicely in this dish?