I love spring. I love the vegetables. Spring means green, and green’s my favorite color. Poifect. So what could be better than one of my favorite comfort foods remixed to become a spring treat? Not much other than the crazy warm weather we’ve been having in San Francisco the last few weeks.
But back to spring. Spring means asparagus and peas, who came to play in this dish. I had some left over from a different pasta earlier in the week, and by Friday I wanted something easy but green too. I also picked up some green garlic at the farmer’s market because I just wanted to see what to make with it.
Green garlic is basically young garlic with a much milder flavor, and it goes from looking almost just like scallions to looking more and more like the garlic bulbs we are all familiar with as they grow. My green garlic was on the more mature side, with a thick outer skin that I peeled off to reveal cloves starting to form. Green garlic at that stage can be basically treated like an onion, and I ended up dicing the bulb and slicing the more tender part of the green stem just like I would leeks. The flavor was incredible!
I’m usually spaghetti carbonara traditionalist (spaghetti, egg, parmesan, and pancetta please), but I decided to mix it up by using orrechiette and throwing in my beautiful spring veggies. I used the green garlic in the place of my standard white onion or shallots and the result was definitely tasty!
Taste aside, I love orecchiette, but oh dear did I get frustrated. I had stacks of 6 or 7 noodles stuck together. My boyfriend can attest to the grunting and whining coming from me while I fussed with the very hot pasta while it was still cooking (in reality, it was exacerbated by me being hangry, but still!). If anyone has any tips for how to handle this (other than literally dropping in one little piece at a time), I would be much obliged!
But back to the food, because it was pretty darn good 🙂
Spring Carbonara with Green Garlic, Asparagus, and Peas
What you’ll need:
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 c English peas (frozen peas would work fine)
- 1 lb pasta (I used orrechiette, but you can use any shape you’d like)
- 1 large head spring garlic, diced
- 4 oz pancetta, diced
- 1 c white wine
- 2 eggs
- 1.5 c finely grated parmesan (more for serving)
- Parsley (chopped, optional but I like how it cuts through the richness of the dish)
- Salt & pepper
- Scramble up your eggs with the parmesan as well as a healthy dose of pepper. Salt a large pot of water and pop it on the stove to boil.
- Throw your pancetta in a dry pan over medium heat and cook, stirring regularly, until the pancetta renders its fat and starts getting crispy. Add your green garlic.
- Add in your green garlic and saute until soft and beginning to caramelize, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add in your wine to the pancetta and green garlic and turn the heat down to low. Let this cook down while you take care of the rest. It will reduce to almost a glaze.
- At this point hopefully your pasta water is boiling. Get your pasta cooking and remember to stir it occasionally.
- When your pasta is about 2 minutes away from al dente, throw your asparagus in. About 1 minute later, add your peas.
- Strain your pasta/veggies (reserving about 1 c pasta water just in case) and add it to the pan with your pancetta, stirring it all up so the pasta is coated with the fat from the pancetta.
- Here’s where you need to work quickly–add a little of your egg and cheese mixture at a time to the pasta and continuously turn the pasta to get the egg mixture coating all the noodles instead of cooking like chunks of scrambled eggs in pasta. The heat from the pasta will cook the egg so you don’t need to worry about it being raw. If you notice that everything is a little dry, add some of your reserved pasta water.
- Top with parsley and more parm (never too much!) and enjoy!
This is a delicious spring take on a wonderful comfort food. One of these days I’ll let you know what my standard carbonara is–it’s really the easiest comfort food since boxed mac n cheese!