Carbonara is a traditional Italian dish made by combining hot pasta with a blend of egg, hard cheese, and seasonings. Typically Pecorino Romano is used, but in the US we often substitute Parmesan due to its availability. The egg is beaten and mixed raw with the hot pasta, which heats the egg, thickening it into a light, creamy sauce.
Pasta is best cooked in salted water; the shorter the amount of time the pasta is cooked, the more heavily the water should be salted.
Tomato and Asparagus Carbonara
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, optional
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
- 8 oz. penne pasta
- 1 tsp salt, for boiling pasta
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 egg
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup basil, fresh
- Cook pasta in water with 1 tsp. of salt until al dente.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and sauté about 3 minutes.
- Add garlic and crushed red pepper, cooking for another minute.
- Reduce heat to medium and add all tomatoes; cook for 6 minutes or until grape tomatoes are tender. Stir gently to avoid crushing the tomatoes.
- Whisk egg with ½ cup Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Drain pasta and toss hot, cooked pasta with egg mixture.
- Add tomato mixture, tossing gently until sauce thickens. Serve in shallow bowls and sprinkle each serving with chopped fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
- To prepare asparagus, rinse it under running water, then hold it with both hands and snap off the tough end. Hold the stalk so that the hand on the tip end is closer to the center of the stalk and the hand on the cut end is close to the end of the stalk. Bring your hands down and toward each other, and the stalk will snap just where it starts to get tough at the end.
- The heat from adding the egg mixture to the hot pasta will cook the egg, thickening it into a light, creamy sauce.
- Parmesan garnish not included in nutritional data.
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