RECIPE – Pasta Carbonara – My way

My “healthy” carbonara – it has veggies dun it?

I don’t know why, but I don’t like to add cream to my pasta sauce – probably because I can get the same creamy sauce without it.

You can really add whatever veggies you want to give this the appearance of healthy food. The only ingredients I wouldn’t want to go without are onions, mushrooms & bacon. 🙂 (and pasta, obviously)

Oh, and the sauce is a combo of egg yolk, parmesan & pepper – weirded out my housemate a little when I first cooked it – but don’t knock it til you try it.

I’m not really a specific quantities person, but I’ll try. Keep in mind that I made extra filler to fridge until the next time I wanted to cook it.

So long as I have egg & parmesan in the fridge, I can make this with whatever else I’ve got on hand – I’ve once used frozen peas & corn in my carbonara (obviously, they were no longer frozen when I served them ;)).

With this dish, it is best fresh outta the pan – this is not something I’d want to make kilos of, then freeze & microwave to eat.

My solution: make a larger quantity of filler ingredients to fridge & only do the saucing fresh when you’re ready to eat it (it’ll make sense later).

Ingredients:

  • 250g Bacon
  • Chicken (optional) – if you wanted to meat it up some more
  • 300g Mushrooms
  • 2x Onion
  • 1x clove chopped Garlic (optional)
  • 1x Red capsicum (optional)
  • Carrots (optional)
  • Any other veggies you want to add (optional)
  • 1x egg yolk (per 2x servings)
  • 60g grated parmesan reggiano (per 2x servings) – the good stuff, or use more if you’ve got the not so good stuff or if you just like ya parmesan
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Pasta – the other ingrediets are enough for 4-6 servings – depends if you want to use it all now

Method:

  1. Cut up your bacon – I prefer strips & stick them in a pan over high heat, stirring occasionally
  2. While this is going on, prep the mushrooms & onions. Wash/brush dirt off mushrooms (whatever your pref). Slice off the stems (that part lives in the dirt so is the dirtiest part) & slice the mushrooms.Mushrooms absorb water like a sponge so ppl tell you not to wash them, but say to brush off dirt, etc. If there’s no water, I feel it’s not clean – try a damp cloth or a dribble of water if you feel the same – I’m a bit OCD with washing though.
  3. Then slice the onions – don’t forget to give the bacon a stir every now & again
  4. Once bacon is done, take it out of the pan, but leave the oil in the pan
  5. I like my mushrooms really caramelised, so I usually add this first before the onions – you can add mushrooms & onions at the same time if you want. Add shrooms to bacon oil pan over high heat & saute, stirring frequently. Shrooms will release their water which will evaporate.
  6. If you’re using garlic, add it now.
  7. Before mushroom water evaporates completely, add onions & saute – stirring frequently. If it’s too dry, add some oil/butter to coat the onions
  8. Start boiling some water for your pasta – don’t forget to add some salt (usually formula is for every 100g of pasta, use 1L of water & 10g of salt)
    My comment: The second your pasta is done, you want to add it to the pan so don’t start this until you’re about 10 mins from the end of cooking your other ingredients. Also don’t tip out the pasta water when it’s done!!
  9. Grate your cheese if not already done. Combine this in a bowl with your egg yolk & a healthy dose of cracked pepper
  10. I like crispy capsicum so I usually don’t add this until near the end. Also return the cooked bacon to the pan.
  11. If you’re not going to use everything & eat everything today, take out everything but today’s meal & reserve it in a closed container in the fridge. I took out 3/4 of the mixture before I added my pasta.
  12. I also decided that I wanted to add carrots as a garnish at the end, rather than julienne them & cook them. I used a peeler instead.
  13. Sauce time – once pasta is done, tip in 1 or 2 tablespoons of pasta water into your pan of goodies (mushrooms, bacon, etc).
    My comment: If you have little charred type bits on the bottom – they are full of flavour, you don’t want to lose them. When the water sizzles in your pan, quickly use your wooden spoon to scrape the charred bits off so it gets incorporated into your meal (aka deglazing).
  14. Take the pan off the heat.
  15. Using tongs/a fork, throw your pasta into the goodies pan straight from the pasta pot & give your pan a quick stir.
  16. Pour your cheese/yolk/pepper mixture over the pasta & stir it good – you want to spread your sauce all over. Make sure you have a big pan to give you space to mix everything together & allow sauce to coat all your pasta. You also don’t want your egg to poach/fry so you need to mix it quickly to become a smooth sauce.
  17. If you’re still seeing unmelted parmesan, add another spoon of hot pasta water.
  18. Add any last garnishes, a few shavings of parmesan & you’re ready to serve – eat while still hot.

The sauce theory – the bit of pasta water, egg yolk & cheese should emulsify to form a creamy sauce when it’s all stirred together. Stir it quickly to prevent egg lumps.

What to do with the egg white? If you’re lazy like I am sometimes, I throw in the whole egg – but I find it doesn’t work as well especially as you sometimes end up with lumps of egg white… still tastes all right though 😀

What to do with the reserved goodie mix? When you’re ready to make another batch of carbonara (I wouldn’t stick it in the fridge for more than a few days), throw on a pot of pasta, stick your goodie mix in a hot pan, then proceed from step 13 once the pasta is done.

Anyways, I much prefer my carbonara to anything in a jar or something that involves a tub of cream – end result = brilliant! 🙂

Bon appetit!

P.S. Did you know you could do alfredo sauce this way? The sauce is just good butter & parmesan with hot pasta & a bit of hot pasta water in a pan. Simple but true 🙂

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