One of the things I enjoy most about having some cooking knowledge is knowing how to prepare recipes that are still secretly impressive to a layperson (who doesn’t know how easy it actually is)… For instance, I made salsa the other day to go with some grilled fish tacos and it blew my mom’s mind. What she didn’t know is that it literally took about 5 minutes from start to finish. (And, to be honest, the fish tacos are also kind of the easiest thing in the world, but don’t tell her that.)
This is one of those recipes. It’s not hard. But what you end up with is so tasty and impressive that you will get oohs and ahhs from whomever is lucky enough to get to eat it. It’s simple enough for a Tuesday after-work dinner, but fancy enough to serve to guests.
Fettuccine Carbonara with Peas
I like to add a handful of chopped walnuts to the pan with the peas, bacon, and onions too sometimes. You can also leave the peas out if you want… you do you. This recipe serves four normal-hungry people.
- 2 cups diced pancetta or bacon
- 2 onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (or grated on a Microplane*)
- 1 pound fettuccine
- 6 eggs
- ½ cup cream
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan
- 1 cup frozen peas, run under cold water to thaw slightly
- Salt and pepper
Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until starting to crisp and brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in the onion and garlic and continue to cook until it’s translucent. (You may want to reduce the heat.)
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir, and let cook just until al dente.
Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, cream, and Parmesan. Season lightly with salt (remember, the cheese and the pancetta are both salty) and generously with black pepper.
When the onions are done, stir in the peas. Turn off the heat.
Scoop out about a cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta. Add it back to its post and pour the egg mixture over. The eggs should start to cook and thicken but not really scramble. Add the pasta water a little at a time (like a tablespoon) if you need to smooth out the sauce. Stir in the bacon mixture and check the seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl and wait for the accolades to roll in.
* If you don’t have a Microplane, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s probably the tool I use the most in the kitchen. I use it to grate citrus zest, garlic, ginger, whole nutmeg, hard cheeses… seriously, once you have one you will wonder why you didn’t get one sooner. And here you can get them in fashion colors!
TELL ME: What dishes would you like to master? Leave them in the comments!!