Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vegetable and Pasta Carbonara with Italian Beer Bread

I don't know that there is anything more comforting than a big bowl of pasta, and pasta carbonara definitely tops my list for comfort food. The summer weather demands a lighter dish, so I added fresh veggies to balance out the heaviness of the sauce and pasta.

The bread is just a basic beer bread with the addition of herbs and cheese. I used a dark beer in the bread, but any beer will do.

If there are leftovers, make sure to reheat the pasta low and slow, otherwise you might end up with pasta and scrambled eggs! I put it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes at 30% power and stir frequently.

Vegetable and Pasta Carbonara

1/2 lb bacon, chopped
2 c asparagus, cut into 2" lengths
1 c carrots, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c dry white wine
1 c grape tomatos
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 tbs heavy cream, room temperature
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb pasta, cooked al dente
1 c grated Romano cheese
1 tbs finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon grease.

Saute asparagus and carrot in the bacon fat for 2-3 minutes, until asparagus turns bright green. Add garlic and saute another minute. Return bacon to the pan. Stir in wine and tomatoes; allow to simmer 2-3 minutes.

Beat eggs and cream together, then season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from heat and quickly whisk in the egg mixture with the vegetables until the eggs thicken. Add hot pasta to the vegetable and egg mixture and toss to coat. Stir in cheese and parsley. Season to taste and serve. Makes 8 servings.

Italian Beer Bread

3 c unbleached flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbs baking powder
1 tbs each fresh rosemary, oregano, and thyme, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c grated parmasen cheese
12 ounces beer
1 egg
2 tbs water

Heat oven to 375F. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, herbs, garlic, and cheese in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in beer and mix just until combined (batter will be thick). Spread in a greased 8-inch loaf pan. Beat the egg and water together and brush onto the top of the loaf. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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