Wednesday, May 27, 2009

TFF - Tolan's Pregnancy Pasta

Hello all! This is going to be my first post for Tyler Florence Fridays! I have been craving some good carbonara for ages, and when I recently bought Tyler's Dinner at My Place and found what he refers to as his wife's "Pregnancy Pasta", I thought it was kind of ironic since I'd been having cravings for that very thing! (Soooo not pregnant...don't take THAT the wrong way!) So, since then, I've been dying to try this recipe.

I know, I know, you're saying that it can't be pasta for a pregnant woman, because you're not supposed to have raw eggs when you're pregnant. Well, Tyler thought of that and made it Mommy-appropriate by cooking the eggs and milk gently and making a creamy sabayon to toss the pasta with.

I altered the recipe to suit what I had available to me. For starters, I had picked up some beautiful Sweet Basil Trennette from Pappardelle's Pasta down at the Soulard Farmer's Market and thought that would be just fabulous in this dish. It was only a half pound of pasta, so I halved the recipe for the sabayon (to 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup cream, but I probably doubled the can never have too much Parmesan.)

Also, I didn't have any peas or spinach to throw in, but I did have some beautiful red and yellow bell peppers, so I sliced them up and sauteed them just at the end of the cooking time on the bacon (yeah, I didn't have pancetta either, dammit) and garlic.

The garlic, by the way, totally makes this dish. Do not skip the garlic, do not use jarred garlic, do not pass "Go", do not collect $'ll absolutely be missing out if you don't throw some nice fresh garlic slivers into the mix. (Kudos on that one, Tyler!)
Here is Tyler's recipe as it reads in his book:

Pancetta Carbonara with Fresh Baby Spinach (aka "My Wife's Pregnancy Pasta")
serves 4, time 1 hour 15 minutes

1 recipe Fresh Pasta Dough (sorry Tyler, no time for that in my kitchen!)
1/3 pound pancetta, cut into thin strips (I used bacon, because the closest pancetta is about 40 minutes from my house)
7 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Parmesan Sabayon
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
freshly ground black pepper

3 cups baby spinach (I used 2 bell peppers)
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Prepare Fresh Pasta Dough (or, in my case, boil some lovely gourmet dried pasta)Set a large pan over medium heat, add a 1-count of oil (about 1 tablespoon), and fry the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until crispy. About halfway through, add the garlic and cook until golden. Drain on a paper towel, and set aside (and saute the peppers gently in the same pan until they are just tender-crisp).

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Drop the pasta into boiling water and cook until tender, yet firm (al dente). Drain; place pasta in a bowl.
While the pasta is cooking, make the Parmesan Sabayon. Create a double boiler with a medium saucepan and a large bowl (bowl should rest in saucepan and the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer in the saucepan.

Combine eggs, milk, and cream in the bowl. Set bowl over saucepan and vigorously mix with an immersion blender for 7 to 8 minutes (I wanted to take a picture, but do you have any idea how hard it is to hold a running immersion blender steady and take a picture at the same time?), until it just starts to thicken. (It should be frothy, thick, and creamy when done.) Add the 1/2 cup Parmesan and pepper and mix once more to combine. Pour the sabayon over the noodles and mix gently with tongs so the pasta is coated in the sauce. Portion pasta among bowls. Top with a spoonful of crispy pancetta and garlic and a small handful of baby spinach (or the sauteed bell peppers). Finish with a drizzle of oil, a few turns of freshly ground pepper, and grated Parmesan.

(You'll have to pardon my little precision sliced pieces of bacon here, I have a pair of Kitchen Aid Sheartoku shears that I adore and use for everything and I couldn't resist using them to cut the bacon up snice tey were already ditry from snipping the basil. Hey, they're my shears, I can rationalize it any way I want to!)


Natashya said...

Yum, I love pasta. Looks like a winner!

Debinhawaii said...

Wow! It looks really good! Welcome to TFF--it's nice to have you cooking with us.

ARLENE said...

What an interesting take on carbonara. I'm with you on the parmesan. Great job on the photos.

Megan said...

I love pasta carbonara - and now that I've seen this, I need to make it again!

karen said...

i always look at this recipe, i'm going to have to make it. is 8:30 am too early for pasta? :P

Jenny said...

I like the looks of your bacon.

Kim said...

Welcome to TFF!! Pasta is the best and your looks terrific. I bet it was a big hit. Seems like this Tyler recipe is getting quite a bit of attention and also rave reviews.