I took the summer off from blogging to move. Steve and I had felt cramped in a small house along with 3 cats, my growing collection of kitchen props, and the expanding photo equipment we need for this blog and our work with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. With falling real estate prices, we could now afford a house with separate offices for each of us, space for the large oval dining table we inherited from Steve’s mom, and a nice big kitchen.
It was hot last Thursday, and I was tired after spending the day setting up my office and didn’t feel very creative. Hence, I fell back on an old favorite recipe for dinner: Spaghetti Carbonara with Greens. It is such a favorite; I put it in my book, Weeknight Fresh and Fast.
I love this dish because the egg and Parmesan cheese sauce is creamy and soothing. Also, it takes only minutes to prepare. But perhaps the main reason I make it over and over is that it never requires a trip to the market; it uses ingredients I always have on hand- farm fresh eggs, pasta, and cheese.
To turn traditional carbonara into a complete meal, I cook greens right along with the spaghetti. The pasta in my book is embellished with black kale, plus pancetta. This recipe has one more attribute: it is easy to adapt to items in your kitchen, and I replaced the kale with rainbow chard and the pancetta with sautéed onion and red pepper flakes, for a little kick. The results were even better than the original.
Dinner was so quick to make and so satisfying, I am eager to share it with you, and get back to blogging
Spaghetti Carbonara with Greens
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 6-8 ounces spaghetti, gluten free
- 1 bunch chard or kale, leaves chopped, stems discarded
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper flakes and sauté until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water 8 minutes. Add the greens and cook until the pasta is just tender but still firm to the bite and the greens are tender, about 2 minutes longer.
- Meanwhile, break the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork to blend. Mix in both cheese and a generous amount of black pepper.
- Remove ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta and greens.
- Reheat the onion mixture briefly and then remove from the heat. Add the spaghetti and greens to the skillet. Gradually whisk ¼ cup of the hot pasta water into the egg mixture. Add the egg mixture to the skillet and toss until it coats the pasta and is creamy, not wet and runny. If the egg mixture does not become creamy, set the pan over very low heat and stir constantly just until it becomes creamy, watching carefully (do not boil). Immediately remove the pan from the heat. Mix in enough of the remaining ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid to form a silky texture, if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta between 2 warmed plates and serve.