Congratulations! We made it through another week! Doesn’t it often feel like you’ve finished a marathon by Friday night? Like you walk through the door and there should be confetti and a medal and champagne?
Well, I suppose there is confetti for me. In the shape of tiny legos scattered all over the house.
And it does look like I’m wearing a medal since I didn’t notice the giant circular peanut butter smear the little one planted on me this morning.
And champagne, well I can do something about that.
In our house, making it to Friday night deserves a celebration. But not too big of a celebration since we only have 30 minutes to dinnertime. So, pasta is a go-to Friday night meal. A little decadent and a lot easy.
Since I’m embracing spring, even if it won’t embrace me back, I springed up a classic decadent pasta dish–Carbonara–by adding asparagus and shiitakes to the classic eggs, cheese and pancetta.
I only recently discovered Carbonara and I can’t believe I’ve spent this much of my life in the dark. It’s basically tossing spaghetti with the easiest hollandaise sauce and then adding cheese. And bacon. And anything else that makes you happy. Right now asparagus and mushrooms make me happy. And wine. Like a Soave. Or even champagne would do well here. Yeah, there’s my happy place.
Hey look, confetti. Nope, that’s just a lego that landed in my eye. Oh well, it’s the weekend. Cheers to Friday!
- 1/2 pound thick pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/4 inch by 1 inch pieces
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1/2 pound shiitakes, stems discarded and caps sliced into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 pound asparagus, tough woody ends snapped off and stalks cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 pound dried spaghetti
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced in half
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup grated cheese (I like a mix of Parmesan and Romano)
- Start the pasta water for boiling.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and bacon and cook until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove to a plate.
- Skim off some of the fat until there is 2 Tablespoons remaining. Saute the mushrooms in the fat until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove to plate and turn off skillet.
- When the pasta water is boiling, add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute, just until blanched. Skim off and put in an ice bath.
- Add the salt to the pasta water and cook pasta until al dente--9 to 10 minutes.
- While the pasta cooks, rub the cut garlic all over the inside of a large bowl.
- Whisk the eggs in the bowl until frothy. Whisk in wine and cheese.
- When the pasta is almost finished, grab 1/2 cup of the pasta water and whisk into the egg mixture.
- Drain the pasta and toss into the sauce with the pancetta, asparagus, and shiitakes. Toss the pasta into the sauce constantly until it's thick and coats each piece of pasta equally.
- Serve, topped with parsley.
Someone was surprised that my kids would eat carbonara and I’m not sure if that’s because they’re surprised that a kids would eat it, or if they were surprised that I would serve it to my kids since the eggs start raw in the sauce. Why anyone would be surprised about kids eating a creamy, cheesy, bacon-y spaghetti is beyond me, so it must be because of the raw eggs. So let say something about that: when you’re making the sauce you add boiling pasta water to the eggs and cheese and then add steaming hot pasta and stir constantly until all of the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick and creamy. The eggs are not raw. But if they’re not fully cooked, I do buy farm fresh eggs from the farmers market so I don’t worry too much about fully cooking eggs for them. We love over-easy eggs with a dippy center so this really isn’t any different.
If you’re still a little ooged out by the undercooked eggs, just pop the pasta back in a hot pan and heat. Or microwave individual portions. It ruins the consistency in my opinion, but you can guarantee cooked eggs.