Portobello and Leek Carbonara.Now this is what I like to see.
Eggs and bacon… not being used in breakfast.
I mean, don’t get me wrong – I find bacon and eggs in the AM to be one of life’s simple pleasures. I adored the Sunday mornings while I was growing up that my mom would make a “big” breakfast with all the good stuff, which is seriously saying a lot since the only things I really adored at that time were my hair crimper (still got it) and my hot pink (like, literally HOT pink) fanny pack.
Crimping hair was such a total pain because you had to do it piece by piece and layer by layer and it never was even and what SEEMED like would totally turn out to be Seventeen magazine material, really yielded just one massive fro. And that whole fanny pack thing? Please tell me WHAT I carried in there at age 8 besides three crusty lip glosses and my Nano pet. I always wonder this when I see super young girls with purses strapped across their chest. What did we keep in there that was just so… necessary?! Total child of the 90s problem.
I can tell you one thing though… pasta made with raw eggs would have never graced our dinner table in my youth. I feel extremely deprived. I always prayed I’d wake up Italian. Not joking.
Last year sometime, a mucked-up version (read: whatever ingredients lived in my fridge) of carbonara became one of my go-to meals while my husband traveled for work. This is sorta huge since my other go-to meals when the cat’s away are like, wine, cheese, crackers and wine. Sometimes together, sometimes not.
So while I feasted on pasta laced with bacon every other month or so, I never actually made it for that guy in my life. I knew he wouldn’t eat it just as is – “where’s the meat?” he’d whine while I simultaneously rolled my eyes. Apparently, bacon doesn’t qualify as meat for him. what.ever. And to make some chicken and throw it in the pasta and make more of a mess and blah blah blah… just too much going on.
But last week changed all that, as I declared while on a little evening stroll that I was surely “making pasta carbonara tonight!” Since I don’t ever do anything I say I’m going to do, I didn’t do it. But I had an excellent reason as I had some cream that needed to be used or losed (yes losed) and then I accidentally deglazed the pan with cognac. Accidentally. Not gonna work with carbonara. That pasta totally DID have portobellos and leeks strewn throughout, and it was excellently devoured in minutes which led to a quite similar meal being made the next night. Like this one. Total flavor explosion.
Give me bacon or give me death.
Portobello and Leek Carbonara
[adapted from Tyler Florence]
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and patted dry
12 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
1/2 pound whole wheat linguine
2 large eggs
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Bring water for pasta to a boil.
Heat a large skillet oven medium heat and add bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy – about 6-7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Reduce heat to low.
Add in leeks with a pinch of salt, then toss mushrooms on top. Stir everything together to coat, then let cook until ingredients are softened – about 5 minutes. At this time, throw the pasta in the water to cook – it is really important that the pasta is hot. While the pasta is cooking, mix eggs and cheese together in a large bowl. The mixture will be thick.
As soon as pasta is finished, reserve 1/2-3/4 cup liquid, drain pasta and immediately throw into the skillet. Toss with the leeks and mushrooms to coat, then remove from heat. With a large spoon in one hand, add the egg mixture right on top and immediately begin stirring the pasta together. I usually stir for a good minute or two. At this time if desired, add the pasta water to the skillet to make things a bit more creamy and saucy. Toss in bacon. Serve immediately with extra cheese!
Put this in your Monday and eat it.