The other night, I found myself on the bus home from the city dreaming of this dish. I mentally went through the contents of my cabinets and fridge and began building this dinner. I was soothed (yes, soothed!) by the simplicity of it, and excited for the flavors before I even got home.
To me, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of carbs after a long day. Pasta for dinner is a total triple threat: convenient, comforting and quick.
I realized that I don’t have many pasta dishes on this blog, which I guess is because I usually make pasta for dinner (real blogger talk: that means there’s no natural light to make it look pretty!) and it usually doesn’t follow any sort of recipe. I use whatever I have on-hand — a little of this, a little of that and then it’s eaten in a flash. That’s how pasta night works.
Pasta carbonara usually is involves pancetta or bacon in some form, which I, of course, encourage. But I thought I’d give you a vegetarian option to show another possibility for a simple, eggy carbonara sauce. I was even going to go so far as to call this Primavera Carbonara, but I think that’s confusing or too Italian or has too many A’s.
It’s slightly creamy, with a serious hit of salty Parmesan and an excessive amount of fresh ground pepper, topped with fresh spring asparagus and peas. (More real talk: the peas were actually from the freezer. No one dreams about shelling fresh peas at 6pm.)
AND this whole thing comes together in 20 minutes or less. It’s kind of the perfect weeknight dinner.
Spring Vegetable Carbonara
– 220 grams or 8 ounces of the pasta of your choice
– 1 cup asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
– 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas thawed
– olive oil
– 2 cloves of garlic
– a pinch of chili flakes
– 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk
– a big handful of Parmesan, and more for garnishing
– salt & fresh ground pepper
Set a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add a generous sprinkling of salt and the pasta. Cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente.
While the water is heating/pasta is cooking, get going on the vegetables.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. Add garlic and chili and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add asparagus and peas and cook until just tender – about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.
Whisk the egg and egg white in a large bowl. Add Parmesan and lots of ground black pepper.
Once the pasta is cooked, reserve a cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. It’s time to work quickly now! Pour the hot pasta in the bowl with the egg and Parmesan. Toss vigorously to coat the pasta (the heat of the pasta cooks the egg.) Add your asparagus and peas and toss again. If the sauce is a little thick, add a tablespoon of the pasta water at a time, to thin it out. (I didn’t have to do that this time.)
Serve immediately, with more Parmesan sprinkled on top, if desired.
– Make sure the eggs are at room temperature
– Generously salt your pasta water – it gives it flavor
– Set a timer for your pasta – it may seem silly, but I love perfectly cooked pasta and hate to risk it!
– Work quickly once you drain your pasta – it has to be warm enough to partially cook the eggs, thickening them into a sauce.