Spring pea, asparagus & Pancetta Carbonara
Who wants an easy pasta for dinner that tastes good enough for a dinner party dish but comes together in 20 minutes? I know I do. Well, we all know how to make a carbonara. It is definitely an easy dish and perfect to use up that fresh spring produce from the farmers market, the delicious asparagus and English peas. They only tricky part is being careful not to turn it in to scrambled eggs. But I have a few tricks that help with that and I wanted to show you how I do it, so let's go!
You will need:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 packet of pancetta, you can also use guanciale or bacon
8-10 asparagus spears, cut in to chunks
1 cup fresh English peas
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 eggs, whisked thoroughly
1 cup of parmesan
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup of reserved pasta water
1 lb spaghetti, bucatini or gf pasta of choice
Fresh black pepper and salt
Firstly, start boiling your pasta water and add in 1 tbsp of kosher salt to the water. Bring to a boil and then add in your pound of spaghetti or pasta of choice.
While you are waiting for your water and then pasta to boil, in a heavy bottomed dutch oven or skillet with your olive oil, cube up your bacon or pancetta and add in to the olive oil and heat it on medium high until crispy. Then add in your asparagus, peas and crushed garlic with some freshly ground black pepper. I would do it to your own taste but I like about 1/2 a tsp in here and then add more fresh pepper once it's cooked and served.
While you simultaneously cook the pasta and the pancetta/peas/asparagus, whisk your 4 eggs in a bowl, I like to use a medium or large bowl to allow for lots of whisking room. The eggs must be thoroughly whisked with no streaks. Then I add in my tsp of Worcestershire sauce, a little salt, probably 1/2 a tsp and then 1/2 a cup of the parmesan and whisk to combine. Before draining the pasta, remove 1 cup of the pasta water and set that aside. Drain the pasta and add that and 3/4 cup of pasta water to the asparagus and bacon in the pot and turn off the heat. Add the other 1/4 cup of pasta water to the whisked eggs in the bowl slowly and give it a stir to combine.
This helps lessen the shock when the eggs are poured in to the pasta so they won't scramble. Then, while the pasta is still hot, very slowly pour in the egg mixture a little at a time whilst stirring constantly and vigorously which creates a silky smooth glossy sauce over the pasta that almost looks like heavy cream. The heat of the pasta cooks the eggs so not to worry. Next, add in the other 1/2 a cup of the parmesan. Toss with tongs to combine and then serve in bowls with a little more parm on top and a few twists of your pepper mill to make it look pretty.
Tuck in with a big fork to twirl all the goodness together and serve with a glass of wine for a thoroughly scrumptious Italian treat!