Presto Pasta Nights – Mac and Peas Carbonara
Rummaging through my shelves I found a huge box of elbow macaroni – what to do with these? The hubster isn’t overly fond of cheese, let alone mac’n’cheese. I asked around and someone pointed me to a recent Food & Wine feature named Facebook Fans‘ Favorite Pasta.
I opted for a recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara with Pea, having the odd bag of frozen peas in the freezer, and prepared mac & peas instead of mac & cheese, although some Parmesan cheese is definitely not optional in this dish.
(The little guy lurking in the background is our traveling toy, Charlie the geocaching bear – always curious what we are up to).
In a nutshell, my husband loved the flavors – the Mac and Peas Carbonara were a huge hit, which is why I submit them to Ruth’s Presto Pasta Nights event, this week kindly hosted by Sara of Imafoodblog.
Mac and Peas Carbonara – adapted from Food & Wine magazine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, lightly crushed
6 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/3 inch thick and cut into 1-inch matchsticks (I used sliced bacon)
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
3/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen baby peas
3/4 pound small (elbow) macaroni
freshly ground pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 3 minutes. Discard the garlic. Add the pancetta (bacon) to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp and the fat has been rendered, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta (bacon) to a bowl.
2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Add the cream and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, then pour into a medium bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
3. Add salt to the pot of boiling water. Add the baby peas and cook just until tender, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked peas to a bowl.
4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente; drain. Return the pasta to the pot and add the cream mixture, pancetta and peas. Season with salt and pepper and toss until the sauce coats the pasta. Transfer to bowls and serve immediately with the remaining Parmesan.
I did not cook the peas separately but simply added them to the boiling pasta for the last minute or so, and draining everything in a colander afterwards. I think this would make a great, easy and cheap meal for a crowd.