Thursday, June 2, 2011

Asparagus Carbonara

I'm going to start this post out with an apology, because I realize that I do this all the time:

I have a bunch of some ingredient, and I ask for advice, suggestions, recipes....And sometimes I use them. 

But more often, they turn into springboards for my own little creations. Like with this recipe. I was sitting at a stop light on my drive home from work thinking to myself how much I wanted pasta, but I had planned on making a frittata with eggs and bacon and my farmers market leeks and asparagus.

When I get a craving like that for pasta, there is almost nothing I can do. I am powerless.
So I morphed those same frittata ingredients into my own little play on carbonara. The bright green asparagus standing in for the peas, and the leeks for shallots. What resulted was a creamy, salty, delicious dish of pasta - and no trip to the grocery store needed.

Asparagus Carbonara
1 lb pasta - I used shells
1 lb asparagus, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 large leek, white and light green parts sliced and thoroughly washed.
4 strips bacon, diced
4 large eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan, more for serving

*note* This dish is all about timing. I made sure not to put my pasta in the water until most of the other components were ready to go. It is imperative that your pasta is hot in order to cook the egg mixture. So I started the water boiling but waited to toss in my shells.

In a medium saute pan, cook the diced bacon until browned and crispy. Once cooked through use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Saute the leek in the remaining bacon drippings until softened and slightly translucent. Add the cooked leek to the bottom of your serving dish (I used a large bowl).

Now, toss the pasta into the boiling water, cook to package instructions.

In another bowl beat together the 4 eggs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

When the pasta is nearly cooked through, add the asparagus to the water. Cook together for an additional minute or two until the pasta is al dente and the asparagus is bright green in color. Once the pasta is ready, remove about 1 cup of the pasta water using a measuring cup or a ladle and set aside.

Drain the pasta & asparagus, and add it to your serving bowl. Quickly add your egg mixture and use 2 spoons to toss the hot pasta with the egg mixture, adding a splash of hot water to help cook the eggs through. The eggs will thicken with the heat from the pasta and the water. If you think your sauce is too thick, add a little more hot water until it reaches the desired consistency.

Add the crisped bacon and toss once more to incorporate. Serve with Parmesan for topping

Beware!! this makes a ton. Though delicious piping hot, I also liked it cold. Rafe and I served it alongside some grilled chicken as a pasta salad stand-in and it was delicious!


  1. YUM! i love how simple this is, and all the fresh ingredients I'm sure made it all that much better. I like when pasta is filled with veggies, it feels lighter!

  2. Yum! I love all of the ingredients in this. And no need to apologize for taking ideas and then making them your own!

  3. And, hey! Did you change something? I can comment!

  4. I played around with the comment settings to see if I could fix something -- glad it worked!! xoxoxo

  5. Great idea! Carbonara with asparagus = healthy right?!

  6. Yum! I'm powerless around pasta too.

  7. wow this looks amazing!! great recipe.

  8. I never make shells but I love them. I also associate them with Annies. Shells with asparagus looks delicious.

  9. I can finally comment on your blog! This dish looks like a perfect spring carbonara!

  10. So funny! In Aruba, it was all about white asparagus, and we had a white asparagus carbonara.

    I am powerless when it comes to pasta too.