In Life, Recipes

Recipe: Whole Wheat Carbonara Pasta with Pancetta & Basil

I have always wanted to make carbonara pasta, or really creamy, delicious fettucine sauce, but always felt it was too out of my range of skills.

Until I read a few more food books like this one, particularly this one:

So I gathered my mise en place:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLqm5y9h2-O/?taken-by=saverspender

And the result was this:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLtjIp3DiJ1/?taken-by=saverspender

Baby Bun DEVOURED IT

He basically hounded me with his little paws, patting me and opening his mouth like a baby bird, saying a stream of words until I shoved the next forkful into his mouth:

MORE? EAT? EAT? MORE? MORE?

AHHHHH…..

[opens mouth]

AHHHHHH!!!!

[opens mouth again]

MOMMY AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

MORE!!!! EAT!!

I gathered it was a success.

Here’s the recipe I followed with some modifications, from The Food Network, my full list of ingredients are below.


Ingredients

  • 1.1 pounds dry whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Whole round of pancetta (or bacon) a little larger than the size of my palm
  • 3 boxes of baby spinach (each box is the same size as a bag and a half, so about 4.5 bags of baby spinach)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion about the size of my palm
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • Basil

HOW I MADE 4 MEALS OUT OF THIS*

*Note: I say 4, but I mean 4 for Baby Bun & I only. We eat like a mommy pig and baby piglet, and each time I made this recipe, we ate about 1/2 a pound of pasta per meal between the both of us, and got 2 meals out of it.

What I did was I prepared the pancetta (Italian bacon) and spinach with the garlic and onions in a mixture, and then saved aside half for mid-week when I would cook up a fresh batch of pasta and just add it in to finish off.

PREP

I always prep my mise en place ahead of time so I don’t waste time.

  • Salt your pasta water, get it boiling & toss in the pasta

In the meantime, while you’re waiting for the water to boil:

  • Chop up the pancetta beforehand into mini cubes
  • Grate a cup of Parmesan cheese
  • Mince the garlic cloves
  • Chop up the onions
  • Wash & drain the spinach
  • Beat 2 eggs into the cup of grated Parmesan cheese

METHOD FOR BATCH #1

Fry the minced garlic and chopped onion to release the flavour with some olive oil

While it’s browning, your pasta should be already done (10 minutes was how long mine took to cook after the water boiled).

Drain the pasta well, but reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water aside.

Put the pasta into a big glass bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil to keep it from sticking.

Once the onions and garlic are releasing smells and are slightly brown or translucent and no longer raw, add the chopped up pancetta pieces & the 3 boxes of pre-washed baby spinach.

Cook that down until the spinach wilts considerably.

Set aside half of that cooked mixture of pancetta & spinach for later on that week to make with a fresh batch of pasta

Toss in the pasta and coat it with the ingredients in the pan.

Add a good splash of the pasta water (about a cup), give it a good stir, and get ready to start tossing the pasta furiously.

Quickly pour in the grated Parmesan cheese + 2 beaten egg mixture, and now CONSTANTLY AND QUICKLY toss the mixture into the pasta so that the eggs don’t scramble.

You should end up with a nice creamy sauce. If it looks a little dry, add more pasta water.

Take it off the heat and immediately transfer it into a bowl to stop the cooking.

Serve with fresh basil leaves on top.

Grate some pepper if you want (I avoided this, the pancetta was a bit spicy as-is for Baby Bun).

Grate some more Parmesan cheese on top.

Take an Instagram shot and pat yourself on the back for being awesome.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLtjIp3DiJ1/?taken-by=saverspender

Devour half with your toddler (or other loved one, including yourself) on the floor while rolling your eyes happily.

Grate more Parmesan cheese on there as you finish off the first layer.

Put the rest away in the fridge.

METHOD FOR BATCH #2

Salt your pasta water, get it boiling & toss in the new batch of pasta

In the meantime while the water is boiling and you’ve tossed in the pasta to cook…

Get 2 eggs out and beat it together with 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

Then start up the skillet again and toss in the other half of the mixture you made the first time of pancetta, onions, garlic and spinach to warm it up.

Toss in the pasta which should now be cooked and coat it with the pancetta, spinach, etc in the pan.

Add a good splash of the pasta water (about a cup), give it a good stir, and get ready to start tossing the pasta furiously.

Quickly pour in the grated Parmesan cheese + 2 beaten egg mixture, and now CONSTANTLY AND QUICKLY toss the mixture into the pasta so that the eggs don’t scramble.

You should end up with a nice creamy sauce. If it looks a little dry, add more pasta water.

You should be better at this now, seeing as you already did the first batch and learned from your mistakes!! At least that was my case.

Take it off the heat and immediately transfer it into a bowl to stop the cooking.

Serve with fresh basil leaves on top.

Grate some pepper if you want again.

Grate some more Parmesan cheese on top.

Devour the new batch.

LAST WORDS

You can of course use less spinach, more bacon, less bacon, whatever you want.

You can also make it vegetarian and put in some fried enoki, portobello or white button mushrooms sliced down thinly and cooked down with Bragg’s soy sauce instead, as a meat substitute for pancetta (seriously, tastes very similar with Bragg’s soy sauce).


I also cooked some broccoli that week and I roughly chopped it up into the pasta, making it a double dose of spinach AND broccoli while Baby Bun was munching it down.

ENJOY!

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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Posted on October 4, 2018

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2 Comments

  1. Sense

    Yay! Amazing timing. I cook 1x a week and had just decided last night to try for fettuccine next week. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Good luck 🙂 This week I made chicken soup out of some cheap organic carcasses, and kind of love it, as it has less meat but I don’t feel deprived. I’m also baking another banana bread next week… recipe to come.

      Reply

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