2.24.15 Quick Pasta Carbonara with Kale
One thing I will say about winter is it greatly increases the number of days I’m really thankful to have a well-stocked pantry. You know, for those times where I know I need to make dinner, only to find that anything I want to make is going to require a trip to the store. In spring or summer, it seems like no big deal. This time of year, when it’s freezing cold and dark before 6 pm, going on a store run sounds like the last thing I want to do. On days like this, I make carbonara.
If you can always remember to have dry pasta, bacon, eggs, and parmesan cheese on hand, you’re all set to make carbonara. In our house, this is not a problem. I guess that’s why I make it so much. If you’re new to carbonara, here’s all you need to know. It’s like a grown-up version of mac and cheese. Also, way easier to make then mac and cheese, and it includes bacon. Are you sold? Good.
The basic steps are as follows: Boil some water, and cook your pasta. Cut up some bacon and fry until crisp. Cook other flavorizers and veggies (a.k.a. what you can find in your vegetable drawer) in the bacon grease until soft. In my case, this happened to be some shallots and baby kale. Add your cooked pasta to the delicious bacony goodness, and whisk together some eggs and parmesan cheese. Now here’s where the magic happens. On low heat, stir the egg mixture into the pasta with a touch of pasta water. It sounds like a disaster, but just trust me. Stir, stir, stir, and before you know it, the eggs and cheese will have formed the most lovely, silky smooth sauce imaginable. Like I said, mac and cheese, but fancy. Also, you have dinner, and you didn’t even have to make a store run. You’re welcome.
Quick Pasta Carbonara with Kale
- 4 oz dry pasta (I used campanelle)
- 3 pieces bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 oz baby kale, any long stems removed
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for topping)
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta until just slightly al dente. Once cooked, drain, but reserve ¼ cup pasta water.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat and add the bacon pieces. Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until it is just beginning to crisp. Add the shallot and crushed red pepper and continue to cook until shallot is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to low and add the baby kale, cooking until it is just starting to wilt, about 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and toss to mix well.
4. Quickly whisk together the eggs, parmesan cheese, and black pepper. With the pan still on low heat, add 2 Tbsp of the reserved pasta water to the pasta. Slowly pour in the egg mixture, stirring constantly to coat pasta. After a minute or so of stirring, the egg mixture should have coated the pasta to form a smooth, silky sauce. If sauce is too thick, stir in some more of the reserved pasta water to thin it out. Serve pasta immediately topped with more parmesan cheese.