Friends and followers know that I have a weakness for pasta. I love traditional pasta and sauces, and I love unconventional renditions of the classics. When I abandon all concern for cholesterol and heart disease (really neither of those should even be mentioned in a food blog), my go-to is spaghetti Carbonara. Traditional Carbonara incorporates pancetta, eggs, and cheese. Most restaurants add cream to their Carbonara sauce, and, while not traditional, I’m not one to complain about such a delightful addition. I recently spent time at a great getaway cottage near Lake Michigan, and had a hankering for Carbonara. Pancetta wasn’t available in the little local grocery, so I substituted good local thick cut bacon (I wish I had stocked up on it – it was so good). I had two chicken breasts which I needed to use up, so I decided to saute them and add them to the Carbonara. As I’ve noted in the past, some of my favorite recipes are a result of just combining ingredients that I have on hand – this recipe definitely qualifies and I might have a hard time eating just plain Carbonara in the future.
- 2 Shallots- finely chopped
- 6 Cloves Garlic- finely chopped
- 1 TBS. Olive Oil
- 1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 6 oz. Proscuitto or Good Bacon – diced
- 2 Chicken Breasts – cut into bite sized pieces
- 3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese – grated
- 1 Lb. Spaghetti, Linguine or Fettucini
- 1/4-1/3 Cup Fresh Basil – roughly chopped (optional)
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
In a large (high sided) saute pan, cook proscuitto/bacon over medium heat. Add olive oil, shallots and garlic and saute until tender. Add chicken and saute until cooked through. In the meantime, cook the pasta according to directions (pasta needs to be hot – to cook the eggs in the sauce- when added, so time accordingly). In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and cream; mix in 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and basil (if using) – set aside. When pasta is cooked, drain and reserve about 1 cup of pasta water. Add pasta to saute pan and pour egg and cream mixture into the pan; season with salt and pepper. Toss pasta until all ingredients are well combined. If sauce is too thick, use some of the reserved pasta water to thin it out. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as necessary. Garnish with remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.