Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pasta Carbonara (without peas)

Okay, I hate to do two recipes posts in a row, but I was talking to someone about carbonara - specifically making a "low cal" version of carbonara, which is just substituting yam noodles for regular pasta, and I offered the recipe.  Then another friend asked for it, so I figured I'd just post it.  I hate making recipes that don't have pictures, so I apologize that it doesn't have any, but I just made it at the beginning of the week, and really didn't plan on posting the recipe until later in the week when we started chatting about it.  Next time I make it, I'll come back her and add a picture.

1)  It's super simple to make.  I'll give you the Jim's Annotated version complete with my recommendations, so it'll look longer and more complicated than it actually is, but if you read my stuff already you know that I make every explanation long and complicated but if you're reading for meaning, it'll make it super easy.

2)  I forgot what two was.  I started on 1, and then I got on a roll, and forgot why I even started numbering shit. 

3)  I'm adding three now because I was just rereading this whole thing and's a place for this one other little tidbit.  And now I feel like I could delete "2" but I won't, because it's cute.  Anway...The reason the title specifically says "(without peas)" is...I don't like peas.  I don't like them alone (unless they're snap peas and they're stir fried or they're raw) and I really hate them in pasta, like pasta primavera or carbonara.  And most carbonara recipes call for peas in them.  I don't know why.  This recipe does not.  Because it's not stupid.  It's awesome. 

Here are your ingredients:
6 tbs butter
1/2 lb sweet italian sausage
1/2 lb prosciutto (finely diced)
2 eggs
1/4 cup shredded asiago
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 cup fresh parsley (or dried.  I honestly use mostly dried cause it's easier, but fresh is obviously better)
one box pasta (I use angel hair because that's what Emma likes)
It ends up being a lot.

Pre-prep and prep:  When I buy proscuitto, they cut it really thin and they separate each piece with wax paper.  It's annoying as hell and completely unnecessary for THIS recipe.  It's also a pain in the ass for the deli people.  So when you buy the proscuitto (and they'll say stuff you want the fancy-fancyioso 18 month cured or the blah blah 12 month or whatever it is...just get the cheapest proscuitto) tell them not to worry about the wax paper.  You just want it cut thin.  When you start the recipe, you're going to just cut it into really small pieces.  So I actually roll the whole thing together and slice it, then I cut the slices until they're pretty small.  Cut the parsley leaves the same way.  Think about how small and fine dried parsley is and cut it about that small.

I'd start the water boiling and cook your noodles.

While that's cooking, get a kettle...I use a 6 quart kettle.  Okay, brief explanation.  It's not that you need a 6 quart kettle.  You can do this next part in a regular pan, but later when you combine all the ingredients, it's nice if you already have a big pot and you're not dirtying another one.   In your 6 quart kettle, put half your butter in and melt on medium heat.  Brown the italian sausage.  Toss in half of your diced/minced proscuitto. 

When I brown the sausage, I'm constantly breaking it into smaller and smaller pieces.  Like when you make tacos.  Do the same thing with the sausage.  Sausage sticks together more than ground beef does because of all the extra fat, but put in the effort, the prosciutto will help a little.  It's kind of annoying because you have to reach into that big kettle to do it, but you'll thank me later.  Unless you're an ungrateful asshole.  I won't wait for the thanks.

Crack the two eggs into a little bowl and mix them up.

Melt the remaining butter in a Pyrex measuring cup (or whatever you feel like melting the remaining butter in, but I use a measuring cup because it's easy)

When the the sausage is done browning, toss the rest of your prosciutto in and turn the heat down low.

The idea (I guess) is that half your proscuitto will be cooked and browned and a little on the crisp side, like well done bacon, and the other half will be a nice reddish pink color and give it a better texture.  Make it...sorry...more "moist".  Yeah.  I said it.

Hopefully your noodles are done now.  Strain them.  HERE'S why you need the 6 quart kettle.  Dump the noodles on top of the sausage proscuitto mixture.  You're going to be mixing all this stuff together, and lifting the noodles and stirring them up will take a ton of space and make a huge mess unless it's contained in a kettle. help the noodles separate, pour the melted butter over the noodles.  Then dump the parsley over them.  Now mix it all up.

Now you're ready for the egg.  Brief sidebar, you're not going to cook the eggs, and because I never feel SUPER comfortable with that, I like the noodles and pot to still be pretty warm.  Getting the egg on the noodles while they're still hot will cook it to the point where it's done.  You'll know what I meanwhen you do it.  You'll see the egg start to cook and change like you might if you've ever made fried rice.  My point is, don't wait super long before you add the egg.

Pour the beaten egg over the noodles and stir.  Dump all the cheese in and mix everything up really well.  The egg will make the noodles sticky enough that the cheese will stay on them.  Asiago gives it a nice tang with the sausage and the proscuitto.

You're done.  This recipe typically feeds me, Emma, Lily (sort of) and gives me enough leftovers for three days.  I'd say it would serve 6 pretty comfortably.  It doesn't reheat badly, but sometimes I'll melt a tiny bit of butter over it in the microwave to make it less stiff and microwavy and more like it was when you first cooked it.

If you make it, and have notes, critiques or reviews, please let me know!

 Oh...PS...I use that whole "coat the noodles in beaten egg then cheese" in other stuff too.  It's an easy way to make plain noodles yummier.  For example, I have a pretty decent shrimp scampi recipe, and since scampi is really buttery, sometimes I'll just make linguini, dump the entire dish of scampi over the cooked linguini noodles, mix it to get the butter worked into the noodles so they separate, then add egg and parmesan to it, mix it up, and make what I call Shrimp Scampi Linguini.


  1. I make something like this but instead of the prosciutto I use bacon just because its what I have on hand typically and I temper the eggs because that is what the recipe I use said to do, might be something to try if your not 100 percent comfortable doing it the other way. Never thought to try sausage in it, that might be good. I have added leftover chicken a few times though. =)

    1. I'm not sure what I'd temper them WITH. I mean, I guess the butter, but the butter and parsley get added first, so the noodles mix freely. Honestly, I think the noodles end up being cool enough that they don't flash scramble the egg mixture and it ends up clinging to them, then cooking as you stir on low heat.