Recipe time! (Apologies for mixing the French and Italian, but I had no idea what the Italian word for eggs is and couldn’t be arsed to look it up).
I used to love pasta carbonara, but over the past few years I’ve developed a problem with eggs. They make me violently ill. As a result, I quit eating my beloved carbonara because eggs are a key part of the sauce (raw eggs, to be precise). Even if you don’t have a problem with eggs in general, carbonara sauce can be tricky to make because the heat of the pasta and cream can rapidly cook the eggs on contact, turning the dish into something resembling spaghetti with scrambled eggs. This recipe is my adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s spaghetti carbonara from her book Feast. I’ve added peas (a favorite in my house) and omitted all eggs, faffing around a bit with the cream and cheese proportions to make up for it. It ends up much more like a carbonara than anything else I’ve tried, and is not at all as thick as an alfredo sauce. I made this for Valentine’s Day, and it was a big hit.
6-7 oz. (about half a box) angel hair pasta
1/2 cup frozen peas
6 oz. pancetta (substitute bacon if pancetta is not readily available)
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
3/4 cup half and half or cream
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Drizzle olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Put salted pasta water on to boil. Once at a full boil, add pasta and peas. Cook according to pasta package directions, or until al dente.
Meanwhile…Slice pancetta in 1/4 inch cubes.
In a large saute pan (that will fit pasta once cooked), saute garlic and pancetta cubes with a drizzle of olive oil until pancetta is browned but not crunchy or dry.
Add white wine and simmer until it reduces to a light syrupy texture.
Reduce heat to low. Add cream and parmesan cheese. Mix well while constantly stirring to prevent scorching. Cook until mixture is slightly thickened and hot all the way through.
Drain pasta and peas and add to pan with sauce. Toss well to coat.
Add salt and pepper if desired.
Dust with additional parmesan cheese before serving.
EDIT – 1/5/10…A year later I have learned that this recipe will not really work if you try to use 2% milk instead of the cream or half & half. Be advised.