Saturday, February 5, 2011

Zucchini Carbonara

A man cannot live by beans alone. And so, when James glanced wistfully towards the kitchen and asked what was for dinner I knew it was time for a change. "Spaghetti," I said cheerfully, realizing as the word came out of my mouth that we had many shapes in the pantry but no spaghetti (James' favorite). No matter, I set to work on dinner to warm his heart.
Although we are low on pasta shapes what I do have plenty of is pork -- cured pork to be specific. Pancetta, finocchiona, boar salami, Jamon Serrano, chorizo -- we're well prepared. Since I thought the salami was a little hard to eat in a sandwich I decided to use it as the basis of my quick pasta sauce. Into a pan with warmed olive oil went shreds of boar salami, 3 sliced cloves of garlic, a pinch of chili peppers, a pinch of oregano, and three small sliced zucchini. I covered the pan and let it simmer over low heat until the squash was starting to turn golden brown (about 5 minutes). I uncovered the pan and allowed the mixture to cook while the pappardelle boiled. After the pasta was drained I returned it to the cooking pot, poured in the sautéed zucchini, 1 egg beaten with a glug (maybe 1/3 cup) of cream and a good quantity of grated cheese (usually I would have used parmesan but we are still working down our party cheese so I went for the tangy sheep's milk cheese, Piedmont from Everona dairy), and about 1/2 TB of shredded fresh mint. Normally I am anti cream in carbonara but we have open cream and eggs keep longer in the fridge so a girl has to bend the rules sometimes. With a good stir the residual heat from the pasta turns the egg into a delicate creamy sauce. Carbonara with a twist.

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