Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara- a family affair

Last weekend, over a family dinner at The Vila Capri, my brother John, my husband Lee, and I got into a conversation about spaghetti carbonara.  It's something that Lee's always enjoyed, but I'd never thought of cooking myself.  John, after dining on real carbonara in Italy a few years ago, explained that he'd been trying to perfect his carbonara technique.  Of course, I had to try to make it for myself a few days later.  And, of course, I needed to put my own healthy spin on it using ingredients from the bucket.

I have to give John some credit in this recipe as he showed me how to assemble it all in the end.

I'll call it- Magic Bullet Whole-Wheat Spaghetti Carbonara

First I chopped finely these ingredients (one at a time) in the magic bullet:
  • 5 small onions- from the bucket
  • 6 leaves of basil and a few sprigs of oregano- from the bucket
  • 4 pieces of pre-cooked bacon
I added these into a sautee pan with olive oil and minced garlic.  I also added 4 more slices of pre-cooked bacon ripped into larger chunks.  I sauteed it until brown, sprinkled it with Penzey's Black and Red and salt and set it aside.

I then cooked a little over a pound of spaghetti noodles (a mix of 2/3 whole wheat pasta and 1/3 regular white).

As the noodles cooked, we beat together 5 organic eggs and a half a cup of finely ground Parmesan cheese.  I grated the cheese by tossing a half a wedge of fresh Parmesan into the Magic Bullet and grinding it into a powder.

This is the tricky part, and the part that I have to credit John's help!

When the noodles were done cooking, we set about a cup of the hot water aside and drain.  Immediately, we returned the hot pasta to the pot and add the egg-cheese mixture.  John tossed the hot noodles and egg mixture using two spaghetti forks.  He added the hot water a little at a time until the noodles were coated.  It's important not to "scramble" the eggs, rather to stir and coat the noodles evenly.  When the noodles were covered, I added my bacon, garlic, onion, and herbs/spices mixture, and continued to toss it.

In the end, it was really quite delicious!  The only changes that we decided that we'd do differently next time is- mix Romano cheese with the Parmesan for a little more kick, add a bit more garlic, and use another egg or two to make the sauce a bit creamier.  Interestingly enough, Lee and I went out to dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants  and he ordered the carbonara, for the sake of research.  We both agreed that the homemade version was better- lighter and more flavorful.  Score!

The other thing on the plate is feta bread- slice a large baguette lengthwise, cover in a thick layer of Earth Balance Spread, sprinkle with garlic salt, and sprinkle with feta cheese.  Broil in the broiler (525 degrees) until brown-5-7 minutes.  I overcooked this piece a bit.

In addition- I invented an amazing side dish using a bit of the extra bacon, onion, garlic mixture.

Zucchini and Tomatoes:

In a pan with hot olive oil, I added:
  • finely chopped onion- from the bucket
  • finely chopped bacon
  • finely chopped basil- from the bucket
  • minced garlic
  • 4 medium sliced zucchinis
When the zucchinis were beginning to get soft, I added a half can of diced tomatoes, Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle, Italian Herbs, and a splash of white wine.  It was so good!  In fact, I wish I had some right now- Yum!  Sadly enough, I forgot to take a picture--so I may have to make this one again.

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