Hello there. Just a quick midweek post here. Thought I’d share with you all how I’ve made my favorite easy weeknight dinner both more and less involved.
Let me explain. Adding asparagus to pasta carbonara adds about a minute more to your prep time but precludes the need to make any other sort of vegetable side dish — 3/4 of a pound of asparagus, for me at least, is enough roughage for one evening.
So there you have it. Fry some bacon. Sauté some onions. Cook some pasta. Blanch some asparagus. Whisk some eggs. Zest a lemon. Toss it all together, and watch how a no-cream light-on-the-cheese sauce transforms a simple pasta into a creamy-tasting, vegetable-loaded, one-dish dinner. Yum.
- kosher salt and ground pepper
- 6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
- 4 leeks* (white and light-green parts only) or spring onions*, halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and thinly sliced
- ¾ pound short pasta, such as campanelle or orecchiette
- ¾ pound of asparagus, ends trimmed
- 2 large eggs
- ½ ounce Parmesan, grated (1/4 cup), plus more for serving (optional)
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped (optional — I didn't use them this time around)
*If you don't have leeks or onions, any onion will do — finely chop about a half cup or more of whatever onion you have on hand.
- Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet. (I do not pour off any fat… ) Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until leeks are golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add pasta to pot and cook according to package instructions. Meanwhile, cut asparagus into 1.5- to 2-inch long pieces. In the last three minutes of the pasta cooking time, drop the asparagus into the pot of water. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, Parmesan, and lemon zest and juice. Whisk ¼ cup pasta water into egg mixture.
- Drain pasta and asparagus and immediately add to egg mixture, along with bacon, leeks, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Sprinkle with more cheese if desired and serve immediately. Note: If you're nervous about the egg not cooking, just throw the whole mixture back into a large skillet over medium heat for a minute or two.