PASTA, CARBONARA, AMERICAN BACON & SPRING VEGETABLES
The inspiration for this recipe is our friends Carbonara made with American crispy fried bacon and lots of garlic. Here is our version of American Bacon & Spring Vegetable Carbonara. Note that we do cook half of the garlic and add the remaining half raw, so the garlic is a bit more tempered.
1 batch homemade fettuccine pasta (see recipe) or purchase your favorite
1 pound natural American bacon
1/2 to 1 onion, small, diced
1/2 head 8-10 cloves, garlic, remove sprouts, minced
3 whole eggs
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/4 -1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 grinds of coriander
2 cups prepared vegetables such as chopped Tuscan kale, brocollini, or blanched snap-peas (chopped) or a blend of vegetables.
More finely grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Pre-prep the bacon by laying it out onto a sided parchment lined cookie sheet–close together. If you have a second sheet pan, cover the bacon with second piece of parchment paper and place a second pan on top, “sandwiching” the bacon in between the two pans. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Bake the bacon for 15 minutes and carefully remove pans from oven, keeping pans sandwiched together, drain the accumulated fat into heat proof container. Return the entire unit to the oven and bake 15 more minutes until bacon is crispy and well rendered. More time if needed. Again, remove from the oven and carefully drain off fat from one corner. Save fat in the refrigerator for other uses. When the bacon is cool enough to handle, crumble it or cut it up. Reserve bacon warm or room temperature for topping the finished pasta. Chef note: if you wish, bacon can be blended into the pasta with the vegetables.
Pre-prep the green vegetables you are using. Blanch each separately for 30 seconds or just until the green color sets. Remove from boiling water and place immediately into a container of ice water only long enough to stop the cooking. Remove from ice water and set aside.
In sauté pan place 1/2 tablespoon of bacon fat over medium heat. Add the diced onion and half of the minced garlic. Cook only until translucent about 10 minutes, stirring some so garlic is not allowed to brown. Add the reserved green vegetables. Leave in pan but off heat.
Prepare the egg mixture by blending the eggs, cream and first parmesan cheese together. Also, add in the remaining raw minced garlic. Set aside until needed.
Meantime, place 4 quarts of water plus 3 Tablespoons salt on high heat and bring to boil. Set up a large bowl to assemble the finished carbonara in with a colander in the empty bowl.
When water is boiling, drop in the pasta and stir a few times so the pasta remains separate. Cook 9-12 minutes or just until al dente. (at 9 minutes carefully remove a strand of pasta and bite-test for doneness). Continue if needed, testing again at 11 minutes, or until done.
When pasta reaches al dente, (firm to the tooth still in center), drain it into the colander in the empty bowl. Carefully lift out the colander leaving the hot water in the bowl. Set pasta down and remove one cup of the water and reserve till later. With potholders lift the water bowl and carefully discard the pasta water. Working quickly, while the bowl is hot, drop in the cooked pasta and all the egg mixture all the while you are stirring. The heat from the pasta and bowl will start to cook and thicken the egg mixture. Remember to stir continuously as you don’t want the eggs to scramble. While you are incorporating the eggs, stir in the pan of cooked onion and greens. Mix well. If the mixture becomes sticky and too thick, stir in some of the pasta water, a small amount at a time, until you have the consistency desired, which is creamy coated pasta. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt remembering that the salty bacon has not yet been added. Make a nest of pasta on each plate. Top with the crumbled bacon and serve immediately.