April showers bring May flowers! And thank God for the rain that we’ve received before things dry out in the summer! I really appreciate gentle rain showers and thought it was such a delightful theme for this week in the I Heart Cooking Club with Jamie Oliver group. “April Showers” . . . what foods come to mind? Well, spring peas seemed to be popping up on my brain, so I searched Jamie’s web-site for “spring” and numerous recipes appeared. Since I’ve got a pantry full of pasta that I need to use, and some cream and peas already in the frig, all I needed for this recipe was some pancetta. Not a problem, I easily picked that up on the way home from the office.
I made a few changes to increase the smiles on our faces over this recipe: First I increased the amount of pancetta. I’ve got a husband who prefers meat over pasta, so I have to meet him half way by adding more pancetta. It was wonderful! I added one more ounce of cream, because I figured, “why not?”. Next, we’re not big fans of mint in pasta, so I replaced it with the classic Carbonara herb: Italian Parsley. Finally, I needed to really shake on some extra salt and pepper at the end when I tasted the final results, even though I don’t need salt for my health. The recipe certainly required it for enhanced flavor!
I also recommend that the next time I make this, I’ll saute’ 2 or 3 cloves of garlic in the pancetta fat after the pancetta is cooked. This time I drained the fat, since I certainly don’t need it in my nutrition. But it would be nice to complete this recipe with some golden garlic blended in. I think I would also use half Pecorina-Romano and half Parmigiano cheeses instead of all Parmigiano cheese alone, just for a flavor that I prefer.
Farfalle Carbonara with Spring Peas
adapted from Jamie’s Dinners
1 lb. farfalle pasta (bow ties)
1 jumbo egg
4 oz. heavy cream (changed from 3.5 oz – I mean what’s an extra ounce?)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 rashers of pancetta, roughly sliced (I used 1/2 lb. chopped into chunks)
3 handfuls of fresh or frozen peas
2 sprigs of fresh mint leaves (I eliminated this since we’re not crazy about mint with pasta)
2 handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped (I added this, since it is classic in Carbonara)
more salt and pepper to taste (it needs it!)
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the farfalle, and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente (farfalle noodles take a little bit longer than spaghetti noodles).
Whisk the egg in a bowl with the cream, salt and pepper.
Place the pancetta into a another large frying pan and cook until crispy and caramel brown.
When the farfalle is nearly cooked, add the peas to the pasta and water for the last minute and a half.
When cooked, drain in a colander, saving a little of the cooking water.
Add the pasta and peas to the pancetta.
Add the egg and cream mix to the pasta, peas and pancetta mixture. What’s important here is that you add it while the pasta is still hot. This way, the heat of the pasta cooks the eggs and creates a silky smooth sauce.
Add the Parmesan cheese and gently blend everything together.
Add the Italian Parsley and once again blend gently (original recipe calls for mint).
Toss together and loosen with a little of the reserved cooking water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper . . . just a note: it really needs this!
Serve as soon as possible while hot.
Linked to Katherine’s Friday Food Blog Hop