If you're hankering for pasta carbonara, but want to forgo the eggs and heavy cream (not a traditional ingredient, but many recipes include it), Needle Rock Kitchen & Tap executive chef Paul Steele has lightened up the recipe for you. Instead, he uses heart-healthy olive oil.
Steele’s version calls for spring garlic and fresh peas, which you can readily find at local farmers’ markets in season. He also uses morel mushrooms, but says it’s OK to sub any mushroom variety. And if you’re feeling really creative, you can add cherry tomatoes or spinach to the mix, Steele says.
Spring vegetables aside, the best thing about this dish? Once everything is prepped, you can cook it in one pan. And that’s good news for whoever's doing the dishes.
Spring Pasta Carbonara
2 cups of your favorite cooked pasta (penne or pappardelle would work great)
¼ cup fresh peas, blanched (cooked in boiling water for about 1 minute then placed in ice water)
¼ cup cleaned morel mushrooms, cut in half
2 tbsp. green garlic, also known as spring garlic, diced small
2 tbsp. cooked pancetta, diced small
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
Grated Parmesan to cover
1 tbsp. butter
Add 1 tbsp. oil to a pan on medium heat. Add pancetta and cook till almost crispy. Add green garlic and mushrooms and cook till mushrooms and garlic are tender, about 2 minutes. Then, add peas, lemon zest, butter and cook for additional minute until butter has melted and coated ingredients. Add pasta last and toss all ingredients together. Adjust seasoning and serve in bowl with fresh grated Parmesan to cover and a little drizzle of extra virgin oil on top.