Did you know today, April 6th, is national carbonara day?
I didn’t either. But I saw it on Instagram and I believe!
I’ll never turn down an excuse to make creamy pasta. Especially when it’s such a simple, fool-proof sauce. If you’ve never made carbonara before, the only trick to it is making sure your pasta isn’t too hot when you add the egg yolks, otherwise you may end up with scrambled eggs as a sauce.
It really isn’t too scary though, and you can always err on the side of keeping your dish too cool, which will just make the sauce take a little longer to thicken. No need to panic. Let’s make pasta.
Vegetarian Asparagus Carbonara
Approx. 1 lb fresh asparagus
2 T olive oil
3 egg yolks
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c. grated pecorino romano cheese
2 T water
2 T butter
8-12 oz. uncooked spaghetti or pasta of choice
salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
fresh herbs to garnish
Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash asparagus and trim about 2 in. off of each stem on the woody end. Spread asparagus evenly on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, and roast until very soft and slightly crisped on ends, about 25 minutes.
Bring a medium-sized pot with about two quarts of water to a boil, then salt the water generously. Add pasta and cook until just short of al dente (you want the pasta to be quite chewy since it will be cooked a second time). In a small bowl, combine egg yolks, cheese, and two tablespoons of water, then whisk until uniform. Season with salt and pepper.
Put it all together:
When pasta is cooked (just short of al dente), bring a large skillet to medium heat– do not drain the pasta. Once skillet is quite warm, add butter and allow to melt. Transfer pasta (without water) to skillet and add a few tablespoons of the cooking water and stir until all noodles are coated and glossy. If you stir the pasta, and do not see a thin layer of liquid coating the bottom of the pan, add more water. Place your hand about a centimeter from the pasta and hover 15 seconds. If it is hot enough to be uncomfortable, then turn heat down to low (or off) and wait until you can comfortably hover your hand before adding egg yolk mixture.
Add egg yolk mixture to the skillet and stir vigorously to coat the pasta. If it does not immediately become shiny and quite liquidy, add more cooking water. Stir until a glossy, thick sauce is achieved.
When asparagus is finished roasting, remove from oven and mix into pasta. Taste and season again with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately and garnish with fresh herbs and more grated cheese if desired.