Thursday, November 04, 2010

Chicken Carbonara

Mary made this a few weeks ago and I've craved it ever since.  I'll admit I've been afraid of this dish because of the possible end result of "scrambled eggs and pasta" that I know people have had to eat (if you're reading this, you know who you are).  But that wasn't a problem at all, and if you want some good comfort food pasta, this is definitely for you.  The recipe is based off of Giada's, but I changed a few things and that is what you see before you... (I will warn you it's a bit labor intensive.  Giada's recipe says the total cook time is 22 minutes, but that would be in the lovely world of having a sous chef.  The prep work probably takes that amount of time, and then you have to cook it.  And if you're like me, just add another 15 minutes to that because I'm just slow.)  Serves 6.

2 teaspoons olive oil
4 slices bacon (I think I'll add more next time) or 4 oz pancetta chopped
4 cloves minced garlic (Or more-- you know you want to)
2 1/2 cups whipping cream (admittedly, this much cream kind of freaked me out, so I just did 2 cups cream and 1/2 c milk)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (didn't have this so I did 2 tbsp of dried)
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 pound spaghetti
3 chicken breasts, browned and cooked through, and coarsely chopped  or 1 roasted chicken coarsely shredded
1 cup cooked peas
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (I used pecans, and this was such a nice touch)
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan (the pan needs to be large enough to fit all of your pasta, so make sure it's BIG) over medium heat. Add the bacon and garlic and saute until it is brown and crisp about 8 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, cheese, yolks, and herbs.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Add the chicken and peas to the pan with the bacon and stir to combine. Next, add the spaghetti and the cream mixture and toss over medium-low heat until the chicken is heated through and the sauce coats the spaghetti thickly.  Giada says this takes 4 minutes, but it took me about 10, though I was very afraid of cooking it too quickly.  Just watch it and make sure you do not boil the sauce because that will scramble the eggs-- yuck. Season the pasta, to taste, with pepper and salt if needed (the bacon will likely add all the salt you need).

Sprinkle with the nuts and lemon, and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Yup, this is the recipe I use and you changed it in the same ways. Bacon instead of pancetta (although I want to try it sometime) and add peas. I couldn't agree more on the prep work. If you read her recipe it sounds like it will go so much faster than it does. Also, I am happy you posted this because I have been going to forever and you just saved me the time!