Friday, May 28, 2010

A Peas-ful Weekend

I hope you're not disappointed, but I'm not writing a posting on a "traditional" Memorial Day holiday weekend recipe. No ribs, burgers, or hot dogs. Nothing grilled. Cue the rounds of boos.


Okay, that's enough. Knock it off. No more booing.

Here's the deal. Nathan and I are celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary a weekend early by doing something we almost never do. We're going away together. Off to Stillwater in Minnesota for a nice romantic excursion. See? Now you feel a little bad for booing at me, don't you?

While it's much more likely that I'll be ordering off a menu this weekend (as I relax on the waterfront, swirling a glass of wine...ah.) rather than slaving over a hot grill, I do have a nice little recipe to share that I tested earlier this week. Lately I'd been thinking about trying my hand at pasta alla carbonara - a classic pasta dish that seems quite easy although I'd never actually done it. All carbonara recipes essentially just require pasta, eggs, pepper, bacon (or pancetta, or similar) and parmigiano. Ingredients which I almost always have hanging around, so why I've never done this dish before is truly a mystery.

I read several different recipes and variations while determining how I wanted to go about this. I was most inspired by Marcus Samuelsson's version, which included peas and basil. This pasta dish is a perfect meal on a day when it's too hot to heat the grill or the oven, or when you just need a break from ribs, burgers, and brats. Plus there are about a million variations on classic carbonara so feel free to take some creative licensing.

Recipe for Pasta Carbonara with Peas and Fresh Herbs (serves 2 with leftovers):
  • A fist full of angel hair pasta (about 4-5 ounces)
  • 4 thick cut slices of bacon, diced into thin strips
  • 1/2 of a small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of peas (frozen works great)
  • 1 generous tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 1 generous tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh grated parmigiano (or pecorino romano)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon zest (for finishing)

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain the pasta and toss with a little olive oil; a couple teaspoons should do the trick. Leave aside. Bring a small amount of water back to a boil in the pot and cook the peas for only a few minutes. Drain separately and rinse under cold water.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy pan (either a fry pan or braising pan - something big enough to toss all the ingredients later), drizzle a small amount of olive oil and cook the onions on med-low heat for several minutes until they start to soften. Add the bacon and cook until done but not crisp. Meanwhile, in a small bowl beat the egg with the cream and stir in a large pinch of cheese, and a little salt/pepper.

When the onions/bacon are done, with the heat still on, add the pasta and combine. Add the peas next and combine. when the pasta has heated back up, pour the egg mixture all over and toss. Keep tossing until the ingredients are combined and the egg mixture has coated the hot pasta. The heat from the pasta will cook the egg, leaving you with a nice light sauce. Taste for salt/pepper.

Transfer to whatever cute serving bowl you'd like to use and mix until it looks nice and even. Sprinkle the fresh chopped herbs all over and add lemon zest (about a half a lemon should do) and fresh cheese to the top.


Anonymous said...

Love, Mom

Queen B said...

Hope you had a beautiful weekend together. Can not WAIT to make this...maybe tomorrow night. Love to you!

Veronica said...

let me know how it turns out!