Hungry, but not sure what to make? Don't have a lot of time to prepare? Make this 30 minute pasta carbonara - a no frills, comforting dish, tossed in an eggy sauce with bacon, vegetables, and cheese. In under 30 minutes, you can be slurping up a freshly prepared, home-cooked meal.
Have you ever heard of or made an arm-knitted infinity scarf? I literally spent all day Wednesday trying to make one. First I found this YouTube video, which seemed easy enough to follow. Ha! I was in for a rude awakening. Determined and excited, I rushed to the nearest JoAnn, and while I was only going to make 1 scarf to start, the "25% off entire stock yarn" sign MADE me pile up my cart with skeins of yarn in an assortment of colors (somehow "1 scarf" became one for each member of my family).
As soon as I got home, I quickly changed into my PJs, sat on the couch and got to work. So you're probably wondering how it all went down... Let's just say that the video promised a 30-minute completion time, and I was still "handcuffed" (see below) for hours beyond that...with a product that had the resemblance of a scarf but not one that an owner would be proud to don. Epic fail...
There's only one thing I can do and that is to send out an S.O.S. to Stephanie, a knitting guru in my church small group. I've got plenty of yarn, so I'm sure we'll figure something out.
I had become so engrossed in my project that I lost track of all time. When I finally looked up and realized I needed to get dinner ready, I was
angry disappointed that there were no leftovers to repurpose. Although I was tempted to give in to the Hungryman's sparkling eyes pleading we get takeout, I decided to be a "party pooper" (as he's called me on many.many occasions). But to defend myself, I knew there would be something I could easily whip up with the ingredients I already had on hand. This is one of the reasons why I make every effort to keep a well-stocked pantry. Besides, our wallets are looking quite meager from the holidays..
Enter Pasta Carbonara.
Is there anything simpler than this no frills dish with just the right amount of creaminess? I'm a red sauce gal and words like alfredo and béchamel don't really appeal to me. But pasta carbonara, I love. While you can add a splash of cream to make it silkier, I personally don't think it's necessary.
The "trickiest" part about this dish is taking care not to scramble the eggs. When you're ready to add the sauce, turn the burner off and the heat of the noodles as well as the pan will cook the eggs and thicken the sauce.
In less than 30 minutes, we sat down to a comforting, home-cooked meal, and I spent the rest of the evening trying to revive my scarf...it didn't end pretty. Better luck next time!
And if you're looking for more quick and easy pasta recipes, check out this Pad See Ew and other pasta/noodle dishes.
- 4-6 ounces dry whole wheat spaghetti or other long pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 thick slices bacon diced
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- ½ red bell pepper julienned
- 3 oz. baby portobello mushrooms sliced
- 2 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ cup freshly grated parmigiano
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Freshly ground pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, tender but firm, according to the package directions.
- In the meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat and add bacon. Saute until browned and slightly crisp, 3-5 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat. Toss garlic into pan and saute for less than a minute, until fragrant. Add red bell peppers and mushrooms and saute until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
- In a small bowl, beat eggs with a fork to loosen them. Add nutmeg and parmesan, stirring together to prevent lumps.
- Strain pasta, reserving ¼ cup of pasta cooking water for use later. If pan with bacon and vegetables has cooled down, warm it up again and add pasta. Using tongs, toss pasta. Turn off heat (to avoid scrambling the eggs) and, working quickly, add egg mixture to pasta and toss thoroughly. If sauce seems too dry, add one tablespoon of reserved pasta cooking water at a time until you reach desired consistency and toss again. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with grated cheese and coarsely ground pepper.