After making Turkey and Pinto Bean Corn Bread Pie a couple of weeks ago, I saw the cookbook, Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet in my local bookstore. Everything looked so good, I snapped it up and set about figuring out which recipe to make first. This carbonara sounded delicious and was quick and easy to make. I also liked the idea of adding asparagus and I had everything on hand. This is a great go to recipe to have in your repertoire as it can be made with frozen peas and pantry staples. I used 1% milk as that was what I had. The most important step is to transfer the pasta to a bowl, add the eggs and quickly stir in the eggs so they don't become scrambled eggs.
3 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 pound English peas, shelled (about 1 cup), or 1/2 cup frozen peas
1 pound spaghetti
4 ounces asparagus, sliced diagonally 1/8 inch thick (1 cup)
10 fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
5 eggs, whisked, at room temperature
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish (2 ounces)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the bacon, cooking for about 5 minutes, until crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel and set aside. Return the pan with the rendered fat to the stovetop for future use.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the peas into the water and cook them for 5 minutes. Transfer them to a strainer with a slotted spoon or a spider basket. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente.
While the pasta cooks, heat the bacon fat in the sauté pan over medium heat. Add the peas and asparagus, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the basil, and set aside.
Whisk together the eggs and milk. Have the egg mixture, vegetables, and bacon ready to toss with very hot pasta.
Quickly drain the pasta and transfer immediately to a large serving bowl. Pour the eggs and cheese on top of the pasta, and toss vigorously to coat the strands and gently cook the eggs, forming a creamy sauce. Add the vegetables, and bacon, and continue tossing to incorporate them. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Portion the spaghetti on plates and ladle any sauce left in the bowl over each serving. Grate additional cheese on top if you like.