It’s Thursday, so it’s time for our weekly post for The Food Network’s blog, FN Dish. Our theme for spring is #SustainableSides, and this week’s topic is asparagus. Sure, I could have come up with a more traditional side dish thing, but honestly, I really wanted to make carbonara. So just portion it down for a side dish, and bingo, you have a Sustainable Side.
Carbonara is one of the more intimidating dishes I’ve made, and one of the easiest. I overthink things sometimes; blow them up to be more overwhelming than they are. At best, it delays me from acting. At worst, it stops me without even trying.
And yet, when I’ve ignored my fears and run forward without thinking something to death, riding a rockin’ wave of hope and dreams, those are the paths that have helped to define who I am. To be clear, that’s not saying it’s all worked out. God knows.
But that’s another story.
Carbonara is one that worked out and made me question why I waited so long, and it’s one of those easy week night dinners that can be ready in under 30 minutes. If this is your first time to make carbonara, here are some tips:
- I like to use Safest Choice™ Pasteurized Eggs that are pasteurized, to eliminate any fear that the eggs didn’t ‘cook’. Otherwise I use pastured eggs (from chickens that are pasture raised).
- Once I drain the pasta, I return the pasta to the pot, add the vegetables, add the egg and cheese mixture all at once and toss with a large spoon continuously for at least 5 minutes. The heat from the pot helps to guarantee that the eggs will ‘cook’. But if you don’t toss continuously, the eggs will heat up too high too quickly and scramble.
- The final texture should be silky, suggesting a sauce.
- Carbonara is best served immediately, but if you have an unexpected delay, retain 1/4 cup of pasta water to add if you need to reheat. Carbonara doesn’t reheat well as it’s difficult not to scramble the eggs. Adding a little pasta water helps to slow the reheating process.
- I love horseradish, but if it’s not your preference, just eliminated from both the Carbonara and Crumbs, and double the garlic in the Crumbs.
The Wimpy Vegetarian Table:
Classic carbonara has bits of fried prosciutto. Bacon, tasso, or anything else along those lines will make the meat eaters at the table happy.
Asparagus Carbonara with Horseradish Crumbs
- 8 ounces pasta (I used orecchiette)
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 leek, light and medium green part, very thinly sliced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 cups asparagus, sliced into 2" pieces
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh horseradish
- 1 radish thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (or mixture of Parmesan, Asiago, and Fontina)
- 2 tsp country mustard
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated horseradish
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- Cook the pasta in well salted water according to the directions. Drain, retaining ¼ cup of the pasta water, and return the pasta to the pot. Do not return it to the heat.
- Heat up the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the sliced leeks. Toss and sauté for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the garlic, asparagus, horseradish, and radish and cook another 10 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender. Add the thyme, salt and pepper and cook an additional minute. Toss into the pasta.
- Whisk together the eggs, cheese, and mustard. Pour over the pasta and vegetables and toss continuously for 5 - 6 minutes, or until the egg mixture thickens into a cooked sauce, using a large metal spoon.
- Top with Horseradish Crumbs and serve immediately.
- Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the remaining ingredients and sauté until the garlic is cooked and bread crumbs are toasted, about 5 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
And now go check out more ideas for asparagus side dishes, and don’t forget to visit the FN Dish Pinterest board!
The Lemon Bowl: 20 Asparagus Recipes for Spring
Feed Me Phoebe: White Asparagus with Herby Sabayon Sauce
Dishing with Divya: Mock Guacamole with Asparagus
Dishin & Dishes: Asparagus Spinach Coconut Soup
Creative Culinary: Grilled Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Low Carb Pasta with Asparagus Pancetta and Pine Nuts
Weelicious: Italian Asparagus Sticks
The Heritage Cook: Asparagus Caprese Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Asparagus Nicoise
Red or Green: Spicy Roasted Asparagus & Leek Soup
Swing Eats: Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Asparagus with Rosemary
The Cultural Dish: Asparagus Milanese
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Asparagus Carbonara with Garlic Crumbs
Taste with the Eyes: Savory Matzo Brei with Asparagus and Smoked Salmon
The Mom 100: It’s Simple Roasted Asparagus with Shallots and Parmesan
FN Dish: The Asparagus Motto: The Simpler, The Better