Prep Time:10 minutes |
Cook Time:20 minutes
Sometimes my mind ricochets around the kitchen like this: I was thinking about recession-proof recipes, which made me think of bacon and eggs for dinner, which made me think of spaghetti carbonara because there’s no better way to dress up bacon and eggs. Then I decided I wanted a vegetable (it was dinner after all), which took me back to a pasta I created ages ago with sautéed cubes of zucchini instead of bacon. But I’m at a point in life where I want to have my bacon and to eat it, too, so I made a carbonara that has both and I was really, really happy. I think you will be too. (If you’re not a bacon person—gasp!—see the note at the end of the recipe).
3 strips thick-cut (butcher) bacon
3/4 pound zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
12 oz dried fettuccine or linguine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for grating
freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the bacon lengthwise in half, then crosswise into little pieces. Dice the zucchini. Set both aside, separately.
In a wide saute pan or frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil and add the onion. Stir a minute or two until starting to soften, then add bacon. Cook, stirring often, until bacon just starts to brown. Add zucchini and cook, stirring, until zucchini is tinged with color and bacon is almost crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir in about 1/4 cup water to deglaze brown bits in the bottom of the pan then turn off heat and set pan aside on stove.
Drop pasta into boiling water and stir to separate noodles. While pasta is cooking, warm a bowl that’s large enough to hold the pasta by filling it with hot water. Pour out water and wipe bowl dry. Crack the eggs into bowl and whisk in the 1/2 cup cheese. Grind in a generous amount of black pepper, then whisk again until blended.
When pasta is al dente, turn heat under bacon pan to medium. Drain pasta and add to bacon pan; pour in egg-cheese mixture and toss well with tongs until eggs cling to noodles but are not scrambled. Divide among heated bowls and grate more cheese over each portion.
note: for a vegetarian version, increase the amount of olive oil to 4 tablespoons and saute the onions until starting to turn golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until it starts to browns slightly. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe.