Thursday, July 3, 2008

Linguine Non Carbonara

I'd bookmarked this recipe for Linguine Non Carbonara awhile ago but had never gotten around to trying it. Suddenly last night I had a couple of extra guests for dinner and was scrambling around for something quick to serve 8 people for dinner. This recipe seemed perfect ... and it was. This pasta dish was delicious. It has lots of bacon in it. Dh is always happy to try anything that has bacon in it. And on the plus side, it has lots of seasonal, fresh veggies in it so to my way of thinking, it's a lot healthier than traditional carbonara. Granted there are eggs and cheese (well, yeah, and bacon too) but I used less than one pound of bacon because that's what I had on hand and there are only 2 eggs and half a cup of cheese in the dish. Divide that by 8+ servings and I don't think that's too bad. (BTW, the recipe says it serves 4 but with some crusty Italian Bread and a salad, we had plenty for 8.)

I'm already trying to figure out when I can make this one again!

Linguine Non Carbonara
Recipe from Terry at Blue Kitchen

1 pound bacon
4 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch coins
2 red bell peppers, cut into little strips
3 shallots, chopped fine
6 green onions, trimmed, then sliced crosswise (6 to 7)
olive oil
2 eggs
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Optional: coarsely chopped garlic and chopped tomato
1 pound linguine

In a big, deep skillet, sauté the bacon until the fat has mostly been rendered out. For this recipe, the bacon is best on the crisp side. Set it aside on paper towels to drain.

Pour most of the bacon fat off. [Okay, I talk big about the evils of this recipe, but we do hedge our bets a bit.] I don’t save bacon fat, so I pour it into a can and toss that out. You just want enough left in the pan to form a slick.

Meanwhile, start a pot of water. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the linguine, stir to make sure it is all submerged and separated, and cook to al dente.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. Heat it, to moderate, then add in all the bell pepper slices, toss to coat with the cooking fat, and sauté until the pepper begins to brown slightly. Remove the peppers from the pan [I try to let the liquids drain from the peppers back into the pan as I transfer them back to their bowl].

Lay the zucchini coins in the pan and sauté gently, turning them as they brown on one side, to brown both sides. When they are cooked, remove them from the pan.

When the pasta has cooked to al dente, drain it and rinse it thoroughly with hot water. Let it stand in the colander, draining, as you finish the ingredients.

Next, toss the chopped shallots into the moderately hot oil. Cook, stirring, for about 90 seconds. If you want to include garlic, cook it along with the shallots.

Now comes the grand assembly. Return the peppers and zucchini coins to the pan and let them heat through. Add the bacon back to the pan and, if you want to use chopped fresh tomato, add it now. Heat everything through.

Then, working quickly, add in the cooked pasta all at once. Toss the pasta and vegetables thoroughly, so that the pasta is well coated. When the pasta is gently heated through, pour the beaten egg over it and quickly, gently incorporate it throughout the pasta, stirring and lifting. The idea is not to create scrambled egg lumps but to let the egg and oil emulsify together.

Scatter most of the scallion slices over everything and toss lightly.

Working quickly, grate a cloud of parmesan over everything—you want to add at least a half cup of parmesan—and then add a good grinding of black pepper. Toss one more time to incorporate them throughout.

Serve immediately.

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