Pure comfort food that is hearty and delicious
Aside from the winter storm warning we’ve just been hit with, it seems like it’s almost safe to say that Spring is around the corner. The earth is stirring and slowly waking up to allow the little green caps that will soon grown into tulips emerge from its water-logged soil, the greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers are starting to appear on market shelves and I have a feeling the herbs and asparagus won’t be far behind. One thing I have been able to procure has been peas. Tiny, vibrant emerald orbs that explode in your mouth, strewing sweetness throughout. They are easily my favourite part of the new season.
This carbonara is a twist on the classic that uses smoky bacon in place of pancetta, and combines the timeless combination of mint and peas. The lemon cuts through the richness of the salty bacon and creamy egg sauce and brightens the dish up significantly. Feel free to use whole wheat , rice or spelt pasta- they would all taste great!
- 1 lb rigatoni
- 1½ cups sweet peas (frozen if you can’t find fresh)
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1½ cups loosely packed mint leaves
- 1 egg
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- fresh ground pepper
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and cooked pasta according to package instructions. When there is 2 minutes left in your cooking time, add the peas. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water and strain.
- While pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cooked your bacon until crisp. Let strain on a paper towel. Place mint leaves in a mortar and pestle and grind until it’s a wet paste – it will look like it’s one big chuck but it’s actually a bunch of tiny little mint specks that you’ll be able to taste throughout the pasta. Whisk ½ cup of the pasta water and the egg together until combined.
- After straining the pasta (it should still be quite hot when you do this or the egg won’t cook properly), dump in the bacon, mint, Parmesan, red pepper flakes, lemon zest + juice and egg/water mixture. Stir constantly until a creamy sauce develops and thin it out with the extra pasta water if need be. Serve immediately and top with lots of fresh ground pepper and extra Parmesan.