Thursday, December 29, 2011

Low Brow Carbonara

I'm not fancy.  I enjoy awesome food with specialty ingredients, but if I want to cook fancy foods I have to drive 20 minutes to the nearest gourmet grocery store to buy "the good stuff".  I don't have the time for that.  The other day I was talking to a friend of mine (who also has 5 kids) about something new I could make for my family.  She and her sister both chimed in unison, "Carbonara!"  Apparently in their family they have a recipe that everyone is a huge fan of.  They told me some of the ingredients and kind of gave me the method, but I pretty much took their twist of adding sausage and coupled it with everything I've learned from the Food Network to come up with this gem.  Normally, this is made from pancetta (Italian bacon that is salt cured instead of smoked...not found at my local market) and fancy hard Italian cheeses.  I made this with what I already had in my fridge...hence my kind of ghetto version of a classic.

1 lb pasta (I used penne piccolini, but I think it's typically made with spaghetti)
4 slices bacon
4 oz Italian sausage (your favorite heat level)
1 cup heavy cream at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup parmesan (the cheap kind from the green can works like a charm...remember...low brow)
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas

Cook the pasta according to directions.  While the pasta is cooking, dice the bacon and put it in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the bacon until it is crispy, and remove it with a slotted spoon.  Place it on a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.  Remove the sausage from the casing and cook it in the bacon grease, breaking it up as it cooks. Once the sausage is cooked, remove it from the pan and set it on the paper towel-lined plate with the bacon.  In a large bowl, combine the cream, eggs, cheese and spices and whisk until well combined.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water.  Put the pasta back into the pot it was cooked in, and add all the ingredients to the pot (toss in the meat, then toss in the creamy egg mixture, then toss in the peas).  Pour in the reserved pasta water and toss it all together.  The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs and you'll be left with this luscious sauce that will coat the noodles.  Garnish with extra cheese.

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