Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara

Cristina Ferrare is a woman after my own heart. As you may remember, I have a serious addiction to pasta. And apparently so does she, because there are 15 pasta recipes in her cookbook. Pasta has it's own section... like it its own food group or something. Does anyone else think it ought to be?

I also have a serious mad on for bacon. So of course I got a little excited when I saw the ingredients list for this recipe. My two favorite things in one dish... I knew it had to be good. And oh boy was it. So good the boy didn't even complain about the peas (which were actually a very nice complement to the salty bacon and tender pasta). And so good that everyone at work the next day was a little envious of my leftovers when I took them for lunch... always a good sign, right? Plus, for a creamy sauce, it was surprisingly light and didn't make me feel like I needed to throw my sweatpants on when I was done. An all around winner in my book.

So thanks, Cristina, for feeding my pasta addiction. I love you. :)

Spaghetti Carbonara
slightly adapted from Big Bowl of Love
yields 4-6 servings

2 cups fresh or frozen peas
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces of 1/4-inch thick pancetta or bacon, chopped into small cubes
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
8 ounces fresh spaghetti or linguine
1 cup low-fat milk, chill taken off
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, plus additional for sprinkling

1. To prepare the fresh peas, remove peas from their pods and set aside. For frozen peas, run warm water over them to separate, drain, and set aside.
2. In a cold, large, heavy skillet, pour the olive oil and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the pancetta or bacon, and cook over medium heat until it is crisp. Remove and set aside.
3. Add the shallot to the pan and saute until crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Cook the pasta according to package directions (remember to salt the water - tablespoon of table salt per 3 quarts of water. Three minutes before the pasta is ready, add the peas. Right before you drain the pasta and peas, remove 3 cups of the pasta water and set aside.
5. Drain the pasta, giving it one or two good shakes, but don't shake all the water out. Pour the pasta into the pan with the pancetta and shallot. Over high heat, add 1/2 cup pasta water, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 Parmesan cheese. Mix gently but thoroughly. Add the remainder of the milk and Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly. This should thicken the sauce beautifully! If it looks too thick or gooey add more pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, to maintain a creamy consistency. Top with more grated Parmesan cheese and serve!


  1. Spaghetti Carbonara is so good! Looks great!

  2. I'm a big fan of carbonara. I love the pancetta!

  3. I am with you on this - pasta should always be in its own category! This looks delicious!


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