Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Asparagus alla Carbonara

Jamie Oliver has a few TV shows and I enjoy all of them. One of my favourites is Jamie at Home because he combines gardening and cooking. Each episode focuses on one ingredient, usually from his garden (he also sometimes hunt). His garden is to die for and I am terribly envious of his gardner Brian!

I sometimes would furiously scribble down a recipe that I thought I might want to make in the future. One of these was his Zucchini alla Carbonara. I only recently found out that this was unnecessary since he has a Jamie at Home cookbook that I borrowed at the library. All the recipes from the show are included, including his gardening tips. The book is divided by seasons and then broken down by ingredient like the episode format of the TV show. Each recipe, and even the gardening page, is accompanied by beautiful pictures!

Asparagus alla Carbonara - 1 serving
From the Jamie at Home cookbook. I followed Jamie's suggestion and replaced the zucchini with asparagus since it is in season in Ontario. I really like how he recommends cutting the vegetables in the size and shape of the penne. I only had half-and-half (10% cream) that I was trying to finish so I decided to use it instead of full cream; the sauce ended up being runny. I recommend sticking with real cream.

* salt and pepper
* ½ bunch of asparagus, sliced on the diagonal to look like penne (and sliced lengthwise if very thick)
* a handful of penne
* 1 egg yolk
* 2 tbsp heavy cream
* Parmesan cheese, grated
* olive oil
* 2 slices of bacon
* fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped

Cook asparagus for a minute in boiling salted water.
Remove and drain asparagus, leaving the water in the pot.
Add penne to boiling water and cook.
To make creamy carbonara sauce, put egg yolks into bowl, add cream and half parmesan, and mix together with a fork.
Season lightly and set aside.
Fry bacon in a frying pan until dark brown and crisp.
Add asparagus slices and ground black pepper, not just to season but to give it a kick.
Sprinkle with thyme leaves, give everything a stir, so asparagus become coated and fry until they start to turn lightly golden and have softened slightly.
When pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water.
Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with asparagus, bacon and lovely flavours, then remove from the heat and add a bit of the reserved cooking water and your creamy sauce.
Stir together quickly (no more cooking now, otherwise you’ll scramble the eggs).
While you’re tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle in the rest of Parmesan and a little more cooking water if needed, to give a silky and shiny sauce.
Adjust seasoning to taste.

Cooking the asparagus and bacon.

Dig into a perfect spring dish!


Gastronomer said...

I'm a big, big fan of carbonara. Love how the heat of the pasta cooks the eggs :-) I usually do peas with my pasta, but asparagus would be excellent as well.

Jamie Oliver is foxy.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Now I want this book since you said he talks about his garden. It's on bargain sale right now on Amazon too...

Miss.Adventure said...

G: I used to think Jamie was foxy but I'm over him now...!

WC: If you've ever seen his show, it's very similar. He does have tips for each of the vegetable/fruit. His comments are pretty funny too!