Saturday, May 22, 2010

Zucchini and Carrot Carbonara

I was watching the Food Network this morning (for those who know me - Shocking I know!) and on "Five Minute Fix" the host was making a spinach carbonara, looked pretty good. So as I was attempting to think of something this evening for dinner, which as usual I didn't start doing until it was close to 5 pm. So it was either leftovers or something utilizing said ingredients. Out popped out this little gem of a dish!

I went on to the FN website and found the recipe from the episode I watched this morning, but I didn't have enough spinach to do that particular one, so a-searching I went.  I found Jamie Oliver's version of Beautiful Zucchini Carbonara.  I did have a couple of zucchini in the fridge, but we still have a couple of pounds of carrots left from a Bountiful Baskets order a week or so ago, so I figured might as well throw those in as well. This is what I came up with:

Zucchini and Carrot Carbonara
This is for two servings, as I wasn't cooking for the kids that night. It can easily be doubled for more....

-4 slices of bacon chopped
-1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise in half,  then sliced as thin as possible, using a vegetable peeler or mandolin to the seed core then turn one quarter turn and slice lengthwise down to the seed core and repeat. you can discard the seed core, save it for another dish or continue slicing and use it in the dish
-2 carrots, cleaned and peeled, ends trimmed, slice the same as the zucchini into very thin slices.
- 1/4 to 1/2 lb of pasta, I used leftover cooked pasta, in this case spaghetti, though you could use any pasta, but then cut the veggies to about the same size as the pasta
-2 tablespoons of sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil, sliced. (you can use the dry version, but reconstitute before using)
-2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach or approx 1/2 cup of frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
-2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat some salted water to boiling. Slice carrots, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes (if necessary).  Cook the pasta until al dente.  In a separate large pan, start frying bacon.  As the bacon is browning, in a separate bowl, beat egg yolks, cream and 1/2 of the parmesan cheese, until incorporated. Set aside.  (If using left over cooked pasta, wait until the veggies are almost cooked to warm the pasta in the boiling water.)  In the pan with bacon and bacon fat, add the zucchini, carrots, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the zucchini and carrots are tender crisp, the spinach is wilted.  Before draining the pasta, scoop a ladle of the pasta water and quickly whisk the pasta water into the egg mixture, to temper the egg yolks.  Drain pasta and add to the pan with the veggies and bacon then toss to combine.  Add the tempered egg mixture to the pan and toss quickly to combine, turn off heat.  Serve immediately with a sprinkling of the remaining Parmesan and a nice piece of buttered toast or garlic bread.

(If you like you can par-cook the zucchini and carrots in the pasta water in the last few minutes of cooking the dried pasta or if using pre-cooked pasta, you can put the zucchini and carrots in the water with the pasta. Then using a pasta spoon scoop out the veggies and pasta, draining them some, then add to the bacon and bacon fat as well as adding the spinach and sundried tomatoes.Then continue with the rest of the steps)

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