Spring is one of the best seasons for cooking, full of bright fresh, crisp ingredients that just barely need to be cooked to be utterly delicious. Cue the winter re-do of 2016 where we have had 70 degree days in January and now in April it is in the 40’s, suddenly I had a refrigerator full of spring vegetables but I was shivering wanting comfort food full of cheese and carbs. I do not often want pasta, but on this day pasta was screaming my name, pasta carbonara that is, but full of these lovely spring vegetables. Traditional carbonara has bacon, eggs and cheese, save that cream for alfredo!
½ lb. fresh cut spaghetti, Whole Foods sells this fresh cut for about 2.50, but any spaghetti will do, I used fresh cut whole wheat
10 spears asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
½ small yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 egg yolks
½ cup reserved hot pasta water
Salt and pepper
Salt for pasta water
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add about 2 tablespoons of salt to it. Add the fresh pasta and cook according to the directions. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of pasta water, you may or may not use the whole thing.
In a large sauté pan add the bacon and cook until crisp, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve the bacon fat. Add the onions, asparagus and mushrooms and cook for about two minutes. Turn the pan off, and remove from the heat. Add the cheese, ¼ cup of reserved pasta water and two yolks and quickly stir the pasta together to incorporate all the cheese. If it is too thick add more of the warm pasta water until it is a silky consistency, think thin alfredo sauce.
Add to bowls and top with the crispy bacon and one egg yolk per bowl plus add shredded parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. Serve IMMEDIATELY.
This is a very tricky recipe, and takes a few attempts usually before you know how to finesse it into being a sauce. I like serving it with the yolk on top and lots of cheese and black pepper as the presentation is really beautiful and the extra yolk is really decadent. The warm pasta water is really important as it binds the sauce together and allows you to make it as thick or thin as you want. Super yummy, surely not a diet or low cholesterol dinner!