June 28, 2017

Pasta alla Carbonara

Pasta alla Carbonara

Janine Pineo Photo | Pasta alla Carbonara

A trip to the Hampden Farmers’ Market inspired this recipe.

From Smith’s Log Smokehouse, I spotted the bresaola, a dried beef with spices, and asked what it was. As soon as I was told it was like the beef version of prosciutto, I knew I had something to start with.

Among my other purchases that day, I got garlic scapes, broccoli and eggs, which turned out to be perfect ingredients for Pasta alla Carbonara. I found several recipes online and ended up doing a bit of mixing and matching to get this final result.

Let’s just say that it was great hot. It was good as leftovers. It was even good cold.

And here’s to trying something new and making it up as we go along.

Pasta alla Carbonara

Olive oil
2 ounces finely diced bresaola
5 large garlic scapes, diced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
4 large eggs
1 can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 lb. pasta (we used spaghetti)
2 cups broccoli florets (save the stems for stirfry)*
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Pepper to taste

Put a large pot of water on to boil.

If you have a double-boiler, put water in that to prepare the egg sauce. Otherwise, you’ll need a smaller saucepan with at least an inch of boiling water (and a stainless steel dish to fit inside that will hold the four eggs and the broth).

Heat oil in a small frying pan and add the diced garlic scapes. Stir those about for a minute or so and then add the diced bresaola. Stir for another minute or so and add the crushed red pepper. Cook until the bresaola looks a bit crisp but not burned. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the double-boiler top (or separate bowl), crack the eggs and whisk them, adding the broth and pepper.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir.

Set the egg mixture atop the double-boiler (or in the pot in the simmering water). Keep stirring it constantly in a kind of figure-eight pattern; be patient, it will set itself up in about five minutes.

About five minutes in, slide the broccoli florets into the pasta to cook. Keep stirring the egg mixture.

Around seven minutes, the sauce will start to thicken and will coat a metal spoon. It may have some curdles in it, but that’s OK. Remove it from the simmering water and stir to keep it from curdling further, about 30 seconds or so.

Set it aside and now drain the pasta and broccoli. Place it in a large bowl, then add the egg sauce, the bresaola mixture and the cheese. Toss immediately and thoroughly.

Serve and savor.

*Other vegetables should work, too, such as peas, beans or asparagus. Use what you have and adjust the cooking method accordingly.

– Janine Pineo