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Penne carbonara with asparagus and garlic

Penne carbonara with asparagus and garlic

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

3 eggs (see note)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 pound penne pasta

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 pound pancetta or bacon, diced

2 stalks green garlic, chopped 1 1/4 cups

Freshly grated Parmesan, divided use

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Makes 4 servings.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add asparagus and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until tender but still slightly crisp. Turn off heat, remove asparagus with slotted spoon and place in bowl of ice water. Cover pot and set it aside for cooking the pasta. When asparagus has cooled, drain it, and reserve.

In small bowl, beat eggs together with cream and a pinch of salt. Stir in 1/4 cup of the grated cheese and set aside.

Bring pot of water back to a boil over high heat, add penne pasta and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add pancetta, saute for 4 minutes, then add green garlic and cook until bacon is lightly browned and crisp, about 3 minutes more. Stir in reserved asparagus, season with salt and pepper and turn off heat.

When pasta is done, drain, reserving about a cup of cooking water, and add pasta to skillet with pancetta and garlic. Stir well. Pour egg, cream and mixture over all and toss rapidly until eggs have set and sauce is creamy. Thin sauce with reserved pasta water if necessary. Stir in remaining cheese and more freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve.

Note: If you don’t wish to serve uncooked egg whites because of the risk of salmonella, use a pasteurized egg product such as Eggology liquid egg whites, powdered egg whites or pasteurized whole eggs, which are available at the Los Altos Safeway, 160 First St.

Nutritional information per serving: 1,059 calories, 43 g protein, 59 g fat ( 27 g saturated), 93 g carbohydrate, 2,037 mg sodium, 255 mg cholesterol, 4 g dietary fiber.