Chicken Carbonara [Guest Post]

This is one of the perks of having siblings who love food just as much as you do. This one’s from Eissa . . . read on.

This is by far my favorite go-to pasta recipe for when I need a quick pick-me-up that tastes good. Now this recipe from the queen of 30-minute-meals Rachael Ray tastes good, really good in fact, and it’s not healthy by any means but it will leave you licking your plate.

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Here’s what Rachael has to say about it in her book Cooking ‘Round the Clock:

 “I knew my boyfriend was the man to marry when I asked him what he would like for his birthday dinner, I offered up lobster, steak, fine foods of all nationalities, to which he replied: ‘Can I just have some of your carbonara?’ Whoa! I was right about him…. Carbonara is bacon-and-egg pasta, a true classic from Italian cuisine. This is the food of the people! I never order it out because everyone messes with it: They add cream, mushrooms, ham — all kinds of stuff that simply doesn’t belong. Yes, I acknowledge that this dish is heavy and bad for you, especially when eaten in copious amounts. But eating this out of the pan or one large bowl with two forks is extra-sexy. Usually, this recipe makes six servings, but late at night, when no one can see us, my husband, John, and I eat as much as we want!”
Here’s my rendition of Rachael Ray’s Carbonara:

Ingredients:

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or rigatoni [penne rigate is a great alternative]
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan)
  • 1/4 pound beef pepperoni, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon (or to taste) red pepper flakes
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4-1/3 cup lemon juice (depending on your taste)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Freshly grated Romano cheese (Parmesan or Mozzarella are cheaper alternatives)
  • Handful of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
  • 5 small mushrooms, sliced (Rachael probably doesn’t approve, but you need to throw in a vegetable with a dish like this)

1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Add a liberal amount of salt and the pasta. Cook to al dente, about 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pepperoni. Brown pepperoni 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, garlic, and mushrooms, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add lemon juice and stir up all the pan drippings.

3. In a separate bowl, beat yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.

4. Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with pepperoni and oil. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Toss rapidly to coat the pasta without cooking the egg. Remove pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper, and a little salt. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up egg mixture and thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with parsley and extra grated cheese.

Happy Cooking! Thank you Eissa for sharing this lovely recipe.

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