Yup…I know. Traditional carbonara doesn’t have asparagus and mushrooms. But, sometimes a person does what’s necessary to make it better.
And use up what’s in the fridge.
Carbonara is one of those totally guilty pleasures, with bacon, cream and parmesan cheese, mmmmm, what’s not to like?
I mentioned before that we have a pretty active asparagus bed. While it is not high on my list of favorite veggies, it is high on hubby’s list. I gave away some more of it today, but couldn’t get rid of all of it. Today was one of those days where I was gone for most of the day, coming home to realize I had not given a thought to dinner. Deer in the headlights.
Okay, I have asparagus. What to do? Oh, I have bacon….mmmmm. Hey, this isn’t my typical carbonara, but how could it be bad? And, come to think of it, I have fresh mushrooms too! It turned into creamy, noodle-slurping deliciousness. You have to make this! If you don’t like mushrooms, leave them out. If you don’t like asparagus, use a different vegetable. Or don’t use a vegetable in it. Serve one on the side. Or make a salad. Or go veggie-less and increase your guilt. Whatever floats your boat.
I keep meaning to try making a sauce like this with one of those cauliflower sauces, but I didn’t allow myself enough time to think of that. I’m just happy I thought of something good and fast without making my head hurt.
Aaaaand since I still don’t have my lighted photo corner set up, I was trying to photograph this in the waning light of a cloudy evening.
Guess I’d better stay home tomorrow.
- 7 thick slices bacon, diced
- ½ pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1 to 1½ inch chunks
- ½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup cream or half and half
- ½ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
- 8 ounces fettuccini noodles
- Throw the diced bacon into a large skillet. Saute on medium low heat until just starting to turn crisp. Remove bacon to a dish and set aside.
- While bacon is cooking, heat a large pot of salted water to boiling. Add fettucinie and cook al dente. The idea is to time this so you drain the pasta and immediately add it to the finished asparagus. Save a little pasta water in case it is needed to finish the sauce.
- As soon as the bacon is finished and removed from the pan, throw asparagus chunks into the pan and saute until tender-crisp. Turn the heat off or down to VERY low.
- Meanwhile, in another skillet over high heat, sear mushrooms in butter until browned on each side. This is easier if you do them in two separate batches. Set mushrooms aside with bacon.
- Beat the eggs well, then add grated cheese and cream or half and half. Mix well.
- Leave the asparagus in the pan and add the HOT fettuccini. Immediately add the bacon, mushrooms and the egg mixture.
- Immediately start to gently stir/fold the pasta around, makiing sure the egg mixture is being stirred and coating the rest of the ingredients.. The idea is to let the residual heat from the pan and the pasta cook the eggs in the sauce, stirring constantly, so the eggs don't curdle. After a few minutes, still stirring, the sauce should thicken and stay creamy, coating the noodles and other ingredients. If it gets too thick, add a little pasta water to smooth it out.
- Season with a little salt and lots of fresh black pepper. Sprinkle with additional fresh parmesan if desired.