Tag Archives: carbonara

Total Control: Vegetarian Carbonara with Summer Greens

Her single command thus far….”Sit”, which she does eagerly and quite brilliantly (or so I’m told).

My life is a little nuts right now. It’s all good, and I’m very lucky, but things are a little crazy. I have my husband, my family, and my friends with whom I want to spend time. I have my job, my food blog, and my volunteer work with puppy rescue.  I have many wonderful trips to look forward to this summer including a wedding in Vermont, a clambake in Massachusetts, and girl’s wine weekend in Walla Walla. I have my meager attempts to get some sort of exercise to balance out said food blog and wine trips, not to mention my book club, my horseback riding, and my laundry. I have lots and lots of laundry lately it seems.

Happily chewing on an elk antler…and my running shoes…and my coffee table…

So it will come as no surprise that what seemed like the most logical decision, the most sensible way to go, was to get a puppy. In all honesty, I’m blaming this one squarely on Matt. He found a darling Neapolitan Mastiff puppy in Tacoma on Wednesday, emailed me in Boulder about it on Wednesday night, and by Thursday at noon she was happily chewing on Duke’s ear and quickly climbing the ladder to Number One Cute Pup In Town if you ask any non-biased person. To be fair, I didn’t exactly kick her out of bed for eating crackers either.

She is incessant in her need to be near Duke and he graciously obliges…I think he even likes it.

So this Monday night when I realized this was my only night off this week, and my fridge was exploding with goodies from our Hand Farmed Organics CSA and another box was arriving tomorrow [insert panic and self loathing at thought of throwing away organic vegetables HERE], I figured I’d better get cooking. A little quiet time in the kitchen always calms my nerves, and the self-righteousness that comes with making a delicious meal out of what’s in your fridge is hard to beat.

We try to do Meat Free Mondays, but honestly we usually don’t. Add that to the list of things that have gone to the wayside in our busyness. But tonight I succeeded, creating a sort of Vegetarian Carbonara and triumphantly using all the chard, spinach, and radishes up. It was surprisingly delicious, light and yet satisfying, and on the table in less than 30 minutes. A perfect meal when all you really want to do is play with the new puppy, and ignore the piles laundry building up in your temporarily empty guest room.

Vegetarian Carbonara with Summer Greens

Vegetarian Carbonara with Summer Greens

Serves 6

Carbonara is typically made with pancetta or bacon, but I didn’t have any and thought a vegetarian twist on the Italian classic might work. The radishes give it some nice bulk, and when the beaten egg is slowly added as you vigorously toss the pasta you get a rich sauce you’d swear had heavy cream in it.

1 lb pasta, whatever is in the cupboard

3 TB Olive Oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced

1 bundle of radishes, about 6, washed and thinly sliced with a mandolin

1 bunch chard, washed and coarsely chopped

1 bag spinach, washed

1/2 cup chives, thinly sliced (this seems like a lot, but is delicious and gives it a nice kick)

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup good parmesan cheese grated, plus more to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick pan over medium-low heat, cook the garlic in the olive oil until just beginning to turn golden, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium, add the radishes and the leeks, and cook until turning translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  4. Add the chard and spinach, returning heat to low, and cook until wilted and radishes and leeks fully cooked, another 5 minutes.
  5. To assemble take the warm pasta (you don’t want it too hot or the egg will scramble), and vigorously tossing with tongs slowly add the beaten egg, until it creates a rich coating.
  6. Add the chard/spinach mixture, chives, and the parmesan and continue tossing vigorously until all nicely mixed and coated.
  7. Serve with additional parmesan to taste and truffle salt.

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Filed under Cheap Eats, Health Conscious, Pasta, Seasonal Cooking, Vegetarian

Carbonara Made with Farm Fresh Eggs, Topped with Pork Belly

Farm Fresh Eggs

Eggs Glorious Eggs

What is the opposite of a green thumb?

Whatever it is…I’ve got it.

A reluctant gardener at best I’ve been known to kill even the hardiest of plants. We’re talking mint…rosemary…bamboo.

That’s right. For the daughter of an award-winning landscape designer, I am a total failure in the garden.

Which is why when our friend and neighbor, Casey, told us about his new CSA, Hand Farmed Organics, I immediately panicked it would sell out (we are talking about neurotic, type-a me after all), signed up for a half-share, and started pestering him about when it would start-up.

Hand Farmed Organics

The View from the Farm

Potato Planting Party

Potato Planting Party

Well…were just weeks away now from weekly deliveries of broccoli, cauliflower, and beets fresh from the ground, but what he does already have is the world’s very best eggs.

If you buy eggs at a grocery store, stop immediately. Find a farm near you and get the real thing. There is simply no comparison.

Beautifully varied, speckled white and brown shells, these eggs (whose yolks incidentally are neon orange) are the most delicious, velvety treats you’ve had in a long time.

Chicken

Hot Chick

Subsequently, I’ve been trying to think of recipes that include eggs. This carbonara topped with slow-roasted pork belly is definitely a decadent treat, but a perfect dinner for a cool spring night with friends and a good bottle of Pinot Grigio. Don’t let the Pork Belly intimidate you. Just think of it as Bacon’s wilder,  older brother.

Carbonara Made with Farm Fresh Eggs, Topped with Pork Belly
Adapted from two Food & Wine Recipes

Serves 8

Pork Belly

2 pounds boneless, skinless, meaty fresh pork belly, fat trimmed to 3/4 inch and scored
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1 celery rib, chopped
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 325°. Heat a large, deep ovenproof skillet until hot. Add the pork, fatty side down, and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, 8 minutes. Scatter the garlic, onion, celery and carrots on either side of the pork belly and cook until softened slightly, 5 minutes.

Belly Braising

Add the wine and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours, turning every thirty minutes, until the meat is very tender but not falling apart. Transfer the pork to a platter and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut the meat into two-inch cubes and set aside.

Carbonara

12 ounces bucatini or angel hair
1 shallot, very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
4 large egg yolks, whipped
Salt
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
Freshly ground pepper

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the cooking water.

Meanwhile heat a large skillet until hot. Add the pork belly and cook over moderate heat until most of the fat has been rendered and each side boasts a nice crisp outside, 7 minutes. Remove from pan and set on paper towels to drain. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened and beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the cream and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the hot pasta to the skillet and stir to coat, 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water, the 1/2 cup of grated cheese and then slowly add the egg yolks tossing constantly so they don’t cook onto the pasta. Season with salt. Divide the pasta into bowls, top with pork belly, and sprinkle with parsley and pepper. Serve, passing more cheese at the table.

Carbonara Topped With Pork Belly

Carbonara Topped with Pork Belly

**All photos compliments of Hand-Farmed Organics’ Kim Sklar**

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Filed under Comfort Foods, Pasta, Uncategorized