Dee’s Pasta Carbonara
2 Egg Whites
1 1/2 Cups, Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup, Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, grated
1 Teaspoon, Lemon Zest
2 Tablespoons, Fresh Parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 Teaspoon, Olive Oil
1/2 Pound, Pancetta, diced
2 Cloves, Garlic, minced
1 Shallot, finely chopped
1 Box (1 lb, 16 oz), Pasta (any shape you like)
1 Pound, Chicken Breast, Cubed
1/2 Teaspoon, Garlic Powder
3 Cups, Fresh Spinach, rough chopped
About 10, Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
In a bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolks. Mix in the cream, 2/3 cup of the Parmigiano -Reggiano cheese, lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Whisk well and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the box directions. I like to cook my pasta al dente, especially since it will continue to cook some when you add it to the sauce.
While the pasta is cooking you can make the sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saute pan over medium heat then add your Pancetta and shallot. Cook for about 2 minutes then add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Saute until it starts to render off some of the fat in the pancetta and it gets a little golden in color. Remove from pan, set aside. Return pan to stove and cook the chicken. Season chicken with S&P to taste, garlic powder and cook for approx. 8 minutes or until it is done. Turn heat to low and add the pancetta back to pan with the chicken.
Then, turn heat to low and add the egg mixture and coat all ingredients. Continue to gently toss for about 5 minutes until it starts to thicken. About a minute before it is done add the tomatoes. The tomatoes do not take long to heat through. Season with more S&P if needed.
Serve in bowls and top each one with grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese and parsley.
You can substitute prosciutto for the pancetta; either one works great in this recipe. I bought the pancetta at the deli counter and asked for a chuck of it so I could cube it myself at home.
You can also substitute peas for the spinach. Typically you’ll find that most Carbonara recipes do use peas. I went with fresh spinach since that is what I had on hand in my fridge and also because I know my kids like it and will eat fresh spinach over peas. 3 Cups may sound like a lot but the spinach cooks down; in the end it won’t look like that much.
Most Carbonara recipes I have seen also do not call for tomatoes. However, I love the color it adds to this dish and it also gives it another dimension of flavor. You can add as many or as little tomatoes to this recipe as you like. These tomatoes are perfect to use this time of year, they have great flavor.
For the cheese, I always have Parmigiano Reggiano on hand so I will almost always use that when a recipe calls for Parmesan. If you don’t have it, you can substitute with Parmesan Cheese.