Linguini Carbonara with Asparagus

Carbonara has to be one of my favorite pasta dishes of all time.  Although it’s not diet food by any means, when you feel like something indulgent, this is it!

My boys actually fight for seconds…Jayden tells me he could eat 4 plates..so next time I make this, I think I will double the recipe for these hungry growing boys, otherwise, this should serve about 4 people (or 1 teenage boy).

There are a few key ingredients to making a good carbonara (in my opinion).  The first being good pasta (my favorite brands for this are Barilla or De Cecco).  You also need pancetta or a good thick slice quality bacon – if you haven’t tried pancetta yet, you should give it a shot for this dish.  You can find it in most deli sections (just have them slice it thick for you).  Good quality eggs…and of course good parmesan (the real stuff)  look for parmigiano reggiano stamped on the rind and you’ll know you’ve got the good stuff..oh and don’t forget freshly ground pepper, I like tellicherry pepper.  Ok I am not trying to sound food snobbish, but good quality ingredients for a simple dish like this really make all the difference.

I have tryed many different carbonara recipes over the years…and have since come up with my own.  So this is how I make mine.  The key is not to scramble your eggs, you want to cook them into a rich luxiourious sauce…mmm I wish we had leftovers right now, although this dish will definately cost me a couple extra visits to the gym – it was worth every bite!  The picture I have here really doesn’t do the dish justice really…but hey I had no time for photos, I wanted to eat it still hot!

Ingredients:

 – 1 pound dry linguini (or spaghetti, spaghetti is authentic, but I like linguini)
 – 2 tbsp olive oil (if you use bacon instead of pancetta, omit this)
 – 8 thick slices of bacon or pancetta, diced
 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
 – 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
 – 1 cup fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus you will need more for serving at the table
 – Freshly Ground Pepper (it just has to be fresh for this dish)
 – 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsely (chopped)
 – 1 bunch of asparagus (ends trimmed), chopped

While your water is coming to a boil, cook your sauce.  In a frying pan gently fry pancetta with oil (or no oil if you use bacon).  Once it is just starting to brown add your asparagus.  Cook for a couple mins, until asparagus is tender and bacon is crisp, add garlic for the last half minute or so and set aside.  Meanwhile grate 1 cup of fresh parmesan and mix it well in a bowl with the eggs.  Cook your pasta until al dente (reserve about 1/2 cup of starchy cooking water in case you need to loosen your sauce).

Once your pasta is done, you have to work quickly.  Toss your pasta first with your warm pancetta asparagus mixture (including the fat, don’t drain) toss pasta to coat.  Remove from heat and quickly stir in your egg/parmesan mixture.;  Stir quickly so that you do not scramble the eggs and so that the rawness is cooked out.  If you like use a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen your sauce.  Serve with freshly ground pepper, parsley and more parmesan to taste.  This is best eaten right away.

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