August 16, 2012

Summer Carbonara

The other day I was flipping through my mother's large basket of recipe clippings, all things from old Dining sections of the New York Times to contemporary versions of bruschetta.  I came across a picture of zucchini pasta. I often crave pasta, and this particular afternoon was one of those times. This caught my eye and as I looked closer, it was Spaghetti alla Carbonara di Zucchine.  

Spaghetti alla Carbonara di Zucchine from a Bon Appetit Magazine clipping

Mmmm I sure do love a heaping plate of carbonara, but that is usually only deserved after a big powder day on the mountain or after a long hike. Let's think about this: I am in Telluride, and I just did a 6 mile hike. So, carbonara sounds pretty darn good right now!

As I scanned the recipe, I noticed that there was no mention of bacon. Well, that's OK. I can live without bacon (although, some may disagree). The recipe is a healthy, vegetarian version of carbonara and very easy to make. However, I added a touch of cream and some cubes of prosciutto. After all, I do prefer pork in my carbonara. 

Now, I must spend a little time telling you about the prosciutto I used. It is not your average prosciutto that you buy at the grocery store. It comes from a mangalitsa hog that was raised in Yoakum, Texas, cured and hung at Revival Market in Houston. For those of you who do not care to Google hog images like I do, this is what a mangalitsa hog looks like. 

Mangalitsa Hogs. Pretty silly looking, don't you agree?

OK, back to the recipe. 

5 tbs Extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
4 zucchini, sliced thinly 
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup Parmesan cheese
6 basil leaves
12 oz. spaghetti 

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add garlic. Stir until browned. Add zucchini slices and continue to cook until browned. Remove garlic and zucchini and set aside. Meanwhile, boil your pasta water. Whisk cheese and eggs together in a medium-sized bowl. For pork lovers, heat the prosciutto in the skillet to allow the fat to begin liquefying. Remove after 2 minutes. Drain the pasta, return to the pasta pot, and add the cheese and egg mixture. The eggs will cook naturally. Add a bit of cream if you like, and stir. Add the zucchini mixture, prosciutto, and top with basil. Serves 4-6.


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