Somehow I just can't get over pasta carbonara. Though I've made it many different ways, I always look for new ways to exploit the combination of eggs and bacon. It's just such a perfect foundation for flavor and seems to make everything it comes into contact with taste better. This recipe from Bon Appetit is no different.
Leeks are the key ingredient here. They are sliced thinly and sautéed in the bacon fat until they turn gloriously sweet. Even though there are eggs and bacon in the dish, the recipe comes out tasting rather light.
I know it's only the first part of March, but all I could think about while eating this was how spring feels just right around the corner. This was the first recipe that made me think it might be near (even it's not, really). It's a hopeful recipe, and very delicious one, too.
- 2 slices bacon, chopped finely
- 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, and then sliced crosswise into 1/3-inch pieces
- 5 ounces small shaped pasta like chiocciole or orecchiette
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1/2 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, add the bacon to a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is browned and crispy. Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon.
Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat. With the heat on medium, add the sliced leeks. Cook until they are very tender, about 6 minutes.
While the leeks are cooking, add a couple tablespoons of salt to the boiling water. Then dump in the pasta. Cook according to the directions on the box. Drain the pasta when done, reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water to use later.
Toss the pasta into the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for a minute, tossing constantly. Turn off the heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and the Parmesan cheese. Slowly whisk in half of the pasta water. Add the contents from the skillet along with the bacon and chopped parsley. Toss well. If too dry, add the rest of the pasta water and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.