Thursday, September 15, 2011

Broccoli Bow-tie Carbonara

Carbonara is such a decadent and satisfying meal. I mean, it's pasta with bacon.
What's not to like?

There are arguments as to whether or not carbonara has cream in the sauce or if it's just egg yolks.
I fall in the middle and occasionally use 1/4 cup or less of cream for a little added richness but not a huge shift in the sauce's texture.
But traditionally it's just egg yolks and grated parmigiano.

Traditionally there are no vegetables in carbonara either, but I'm a vegetable nut, and I can also tell myself this dish is not as evil of a diet-killer if I throw a bunch of green things in it as well.
This time I had broccoli on hand, so that's what went in.
Chop up one large broccoli stem and steam them with a pinch of salt so they are still slightly firm, only about 4-5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Technically you only need 1 egg yolk per person, but as I was using quite a bit of broccoli, which does not coat with sauce as easily as say, peas or zucchini when mixed in with pasta, I used 4.
Also, I wanted a LOT of sauce.

Make sure your eggs are fresh!
And save the whites for an egg-white omelette the next morning.
(Tho it's smart to label the clear white goo...)

Beat the egg yolks together with about 1/2 cup of grated parmigiano (pecorino can make it too salty once combined with the bacon) and set aside.

Mmmm... bacon.
I used two slices per person, but you can make as much as you like of course.
Just make sure you do not have too much rendered fat in the pan when you add the pasta and vegetables. Maybe 1-2 TBSP tops.

Crumble the bacon and add the broccoli into the pan with the drippings.
Stir to combine a bit.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the broccoli and drippings and remove it from the heat source.
Take a medium ladle-full of the hot and starchy RESERVED pasta water and, while stirring, add it to the egg and cheese mixture. This is "tempering" your egg.
If you add the yolks directly to a hot pan, you will just get scrambled eggs.

Toss everything well to combine, adding more pasta water if the sauce seems too tight.
Garnish with crumbled bacon and black pepper (unless you are like me and hate black pepper) and Get It While It's HOT!

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