Happy Friday to you all. We have been enjoying a couple of wonderfully warm days here in Western Washington. Of course today is back to rain, but when we have those days we cherish them and spend as much time outside as possible. I knew I needed a recipe for Food Star Friday but didn’t want to spend much time cooking, I just wanted to sit outside and relax. The evening went on and on until I knew I had to get something cooking. I had a few things I wanted to make, but this recipe had been screaming at me for quite sometime. I am a huge fan of Pasta Carbonara so when I ran across a recipe on the Martha Stewart website by Chef Alfred Portale of The Gotham Bar and Grill in NY I knew I had to make it. He had come up with a dish that was a cross between Pasta Carbonara and Cacia E Pepe (spaghetti with cheese and black pepper). Everything about it sounded wonderful to me so I was game to give it a shot!
Normally on Food Star Friday I make the recipes exactly as written and then just give you all my review of it. How it tasted, how easy it was, etc. Well not so much this time. I got into the kitchen and got into the mind set of if I was coming home late at night and what I would do. I would have a go to recipe like this, but I would also try to utilize many of the items I had in my fridge as well. That is where this recipe was born, between my mind and the contents of my refrigerator. I swear I am getting so bad about changing recipes up but I just can’t help it!!
It was funny because Kevin was chopping and dropping for me as I was rummaging through the fridge digging things out. It went a little like this…
Me – (mumbling in the fridge and clanging jars around)
Kevin – What in the heck are you doing? You look like you are trying to crawl into the fridge!
Me – I am looking for ingredients for the pasta
Kevin – I though you already grabbed everything the recipe called for.
Me – I did.
Kevin – Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay then again, what in the heck are you doing?
Me – It just needs a little extra OOMF, you know what I mean?
Kevin – I have no clue so I am going to just shut up and stir.
Sometimes they just don’t get me here. But that’s OK. After this dish Kevin said he is going to call me the Mad Foodie instead of the Mad Scientist. I can go with that. Many people in my life have thought I was a bit crazy!!
Anyway, this dish is anything but crazy! It came out so incredibly good that Mr Skeptical (Kevin) ate a huge plate of it and then proceeded to finish what I had left in my bowl. Which was OK because I think I would have eaten myself into a coma if given the opportunity. Seth and Heather tried it the next day for breakfast and both wished there was more!
This recipe does call for quite a bit of black pepper and I knew my family loves anything with heat, but Heather loved it so that was a good sign. If you are still leery about using as much pepper as the recipe calls for, just cut it down to 2 teaspoons.
1/2 pound spaghetti
5 slices smoked bacon, chopped
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon black pepper
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons butter, plus some for frying the eggs
2 cups baby arugala or spinach
1 1/2 cup grated parmesian cheese
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 large eggs
Bring a large post of water to boil, salt well and add pasta. Cook till al dente, approx 8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of starchy cooking liquid.
Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium high heat, add bacon and cook until it begin to crisp and fat renders. Add the onions and cook an addition 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes then add the pepper. Stir until well combined and add the arugala and cooked pasta. Add the 3 tablespoons butter, stir until butter has melted and is well incorporated into the pasta. Add the parmesian cheese and stir. Add some of the pasta water to thin the sauce out as needed.
In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Carefully crack eggs into pan, 1 at a time and cook just until the whites set up. Divide pasta into 4 bowls and top each with a fried eggs. Top each with a sprinkling of pepper and chopped parsley.