A creamy, silky, luxurious carbonara has got to be one of my favorite meals on the planet. It's definitely one of my favorite things to order at Italian restaurants. I was so excited when I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest, because I thought it was a brilliant idea to add peas to carbonara. After I made this, the brilliance of that idea was confirmed; the peas add such a bright flavor to what is otherwise a heavy dish, and as a textural element they're perfect. In one mouthful you get the silky, rich sauce, the salty smoky crispy bacon, and the subtle sweetness and the pop of the peas. Heaven in a bowl.
I liked using farfalle for this so much that I'll probably use it or another short pasta every time I make carbonara from now on. It held onto the sauce so much better than a long noodle would have. This is the kind of meal I would serve to my family on a weeknight (since it takes much less than half an hour from start to finish), but that would also be appropriate to serve to guests. Simple, delicious, and a little bit luxurious -- this is definitely my kind of food.
Farfalle Carbonara with Peas
adapted from Jamie Oliver
16 ounces farfalle
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
6 strips bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions in boiling salted water. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the frozen peas. Drain pasta and peas, reserving a cup of the cooking water, and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg, cream, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
3. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Set bacon aside on a paper towel to drain and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook and stir for 30 seconds.
4. Return the bacon to the skillet, along with the pasta and peas. Stir to combine, making sure the pasta is warm, and then add the egg and cream mixture. Toss together and loosen with a bit of the reserved cooking water if necessary. Add parmesan cheese until melted. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve immediately.