Still Life With Wooden Spoon

Bacon and Broccoli Carbonara
August 1, 2010, 11:13 am
Filed under: Dinner | Tags: , , ,

Spaghetti Carbonara has saved my life on many occasions. Whether because the only fridge contents happen to be bacon and eggs, or because a hangover called out for this most indulgent pasta, it’s a rather useful little dish to have in one’s repertoire.

While I like the pared down, more classic incarnation of this sauce, I do enjoy playing around with it to make for a slightly more interesting meal. The addition of asparagus is always welcome, I’ve discovered, and because of that, other greenery has gradually become incorporated. For this meal, broccoli was chosen to play a supporting role, and it did so stunningly.

After cutting up the broccoli into easily manageable floret-lets, and slicing some bacon into chunks, the latter was fried off with the merest hint of oil. Once suitably crispy, the broccoli was added to the pan for a sauté. Be sure not to overcook the broccoli to the squidgy, smelling like socks stage – it needs to stay crisp to be of any use.

While this is going on, you separate out some eggs, placing two yolks into a mixing bowl per person you’re serving. I replace one of the yolks with one whole egg, just for some added substance. A slug of cream is an optional extra here, but with none available, I just added the briefest glug of milk. A healthy handful of grated Parmesan is added to the eggs and the whole lot is mixed up with a grind of black pepper.

All this while, some pasta needs to be put on the boil, timed so that its doneness coincides with that of the bacon and broccoli. This being done, the pasta is drained – reserving some of the cooking water – and added to the egg mixture. Mixing furiously to prevent curdling, the residual pasta heat cooks the eggs and you’re left with a creamy, silky sauce coating the lot. If it’s looking a touch too sticky, a teaspoon or so of the pasta water should slacken the mix as needed.

Once the bacon and broccoli are combined to the pasta mix, the whole thing is served up with some garden fresh rocket and a grating more of parmesan. It may not be the most classic variation of this dish, but it does make for a marvellous, Saturday chill, DVD watching kind of evening, dinner.


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