Skinny Capellini Carbonara

In my last post I covered that all too familiar scenario where you plan out your meals and realize when you’re at the store that you can’t get certain ingredients.  Similar to that, I often find that I can’t find a specific version of something.  This can become a major issue for a less experienced cook because if you do have to substitute you may find that you need to tweak the directions in order to get a good result.  In this case, it was proscuitto.  Although you can get thinly sliced proscuitto at nearly every store around me, I have yet to see it in a form that would allow me to dice it up.  I have a feeling you need a specialty store, or butcher for that sort of thing.

Anyway, with really no other options, I decided to just go with the thinly sliced stuff, which thankfully I am familiar with.  If you put a thin slice in a hot skillet it will sort of wrinkle and curl up and though it will cook, it won’t be very even.  I decided instead to pile it up and just roughly cut it up, allowing it to stick together and form bits.  I also don’t think you get the amount of fat in the skillet that you would if you were using a thicker cut, so I added just a bit of olive oil to my skillet to get it going.  As it cooked, I stirred it around pretty constantly as I didn’t want areas to overcook, which can happen quickly.  I cooked it over medium or even a little lower for about 5 minutes until it started to crisp up and all the fat pieces loss that chewyness I don’t enjoy.

The packages at my store came as 3oz, which I think is pretty standard, so I grabbed 2… and because I had nothing in mind for the leftovers I used it all.  I figured my husband especially would appreciate the extra in a pretty simple dish.  It was good that way, but the proscuitto does add a good deal of saltiness to the dish, so if you aren’t big on salty foods I would stick to 4oz as I am sure it would have been plenty.  The other substitute I made, if you can even really call it that, was to use shredded Parmesan instead of grated because I already had that and shaved and didn’t want to purchase a third variety.  I just ran my knife through it a bit until it was closer to grated texture and that worked out just fine.  The recipe states that you could need additional pasta water to thin your sauce, but I definitely didn’t find that to be the case, it was nice and thin with just the 1/2 cup.  For the capellini, I used thin spaghetti, and mine was actually a vegetable variety which I hadn’t tried before.  I have never seen capellini in my stores, but I am pretty sure there really isn’t much if any difference between the two, or you could even use angel hair pasta.

Now for the review…. I have to say I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did!  I had hoped I would of course, but I guess having the word skinny in the title just makes you assume it’s going to be bland at best.  The proscuitto adds so much flavor to this dish, and especially if you use 1 1/2 the amount like I did lol.  The peas give that nice counter balance of freshness to the decadent and velvety smooth sauce.  All in all, a fantastic pasta dish!  This is also a very quick dish to prepare which is perfect for most people on a busy weeknight.

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Skinny Capellini Carbonara

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 lb capellini pasta (sub thin spaghetti or angel hair)
  • 4 oz. proscuitto, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I doubled that)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, at room temp
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1/2 cup cooked peas
  • additional Parmesan for top

Directions :

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the proscuitto until golden, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Turn off the heat. (See notes above if you had to use thinly sliced proscuitto)
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Approximately 2-3 minutes (or according to package directions if you substituted another pasta)
  3. While the pasta cooks, whisk the eggs with the cheese, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of pasta water to the eggs to temper them. (So they don’t scramble when mixed into the pasta.)
  4. Remove the pasta with a slotted spoon and transfer to the skillet with the proscuitto. Mix the pasta with the fat and proscuitto and then slowly add the eggs to the pasta while stirring constantly. If the pasta still seems dry add another 1/4 cup of the pasta water and stir until cream. Fold in the peas and serve immediately.

Recipe from The Suburban Soapbox

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Published in: on January 13, 2015 at 7:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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