Steam clouds the kitchen windows so much that I can no longer see outside. On the stove, water boils violently in a large pot. I put my cold hands above it and goosebumps immediately form all over my arm. The front burners are at work on the asparagus, peas and garlic (oh, so much garlic) and the aroma is equally satisfying. All day, I've been anticipating this dish: a big bowl of linguine in a creamy carbonara sauce. I'm usually pretty good at restricting my pasta consumption to a couple times a month and typically it's freshly made. But I'm not in the mood to fuss over dough, so a box of dried pasta will have to suffice.
I'd been eying a carbonara recipe from the gorgeous new book from Teri and Jenny that focuses on various ways to prepare eggs. I love eggs in all forms: poached, scrambled, fried, deviled, even pickled. But, for me, eggs are a breakfast food (with the exception of a saladniçoise, one of my favorite summer lunch or dinners). I don't go to eggs for a quick weeknight meal. Tonight, however, I'm going for it. Thanks to their book, The Perfect Egg, I'm preparing my very first carbonara. Working with eggs has never freaked me out. I make aioli all the time, so I'm not sure why it's taken me this long. Whisking together the sauce isn't complicated, just be sure to remember to reserve some pasta water (I almost spilled it all out in the sink).
Some lemon juice squeezed in at the end takes this from being a stick-to-your-guts kind of meal (ideal for some of those blizzards we got hit with back in February) to something perfect for a cool spring night. Not to mention the bright green on top of the pasta. Just a reminder that we're getting closer and closer to summer.
Spring Pasta Carbonara
Source Adapted from the recipe in The Perfect Egg by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park
Yield 4 servings
1 pound dried linguine pasta (or the pasta of your choice) 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 pound fresh asparagus, rinsed, ends trimmed 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas 1 egg 3 egg yolks 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish Zest of 1 lemon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 teaspoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to the time listed on the box.
2. While the linguine is cooking, slice the asparagus into bite-size pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the asparagus to the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Add peas and cook for 1 minute. Transfer cooked vegetables to a bowl.
3. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
4. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and lemon zest. Slowly whisk in the reserved pasta water.
5. Transfer the drained pasta to the pan used for the vegetables and set over medium heat. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta and carefully stir to coat. Cook for another 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and black pepper.
6. Dish out the pasta into serving bowls. Top with cooked asparagus and other vegetables. Sprinkle fresh parsley and additional Parmesan cheese on top before serving.