Monday, March 12, 2012

Farfalle Carbonara with Peas and Poached Egg

Almost all that is required for this dish
I needed a quick pantry supper tonight. In these situations, farfalle carbonara is my 'go-to' dish. As the kids call it, "bacon and butterflies". Whatever you call it, this is a very popular dish in the UK where kids will eat this for their 'tea' - a four o'clock meal that is provided after school - it sure beats a few goldfish crackers. Here in Canada we don't have 'tea time', so it will work for a supper in a pinch. Anyway, as you can see from the picture, there are very few ingredients in this dish, and most of which, are usually  hanging around a typical kitchen. Admittedly, there are a couple of things I didn't include in the picture, namely cream, mustard and lemon. Here's how I did:

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. In the mean time, get a skillet on the fire and sweat a finely chopped shallot and clove of garlic in a bit of olive oil. When the veg has softened, drop in some finely cubed ham (I typically use bacon for this, but I didn't have any. If you're using bacon, crisp it up in a separate pan, chop it up once done and add it at this point). Warm the ham through and let it's smokey saltiness kiss the veg, then turn the heat right off. Get the farfalle going in the boiling water. When the farfalle is 80% cooked, drop in a cup of frozen green peas. Wait another three minutes or so, and then put aside a reserve  cup of the starchy pasta water and strain the pasta and peas through a colander. Now for the assembly. Get the pasta and peas back in the pot. Pour the ham/shallot/garlic in with the pasta. Drizzle in some olive oil, drop in a whack of grated parm, a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of Dijon mustard. Pour in a about half a cup of the starchy pasta water. Then in a small bowl, whip together two egg yolks, a few tablespoons of cream, and another smallish handful of parm. Whisk violently, and then fold into the pasta. The combination of hot pasta water, the yolks and the cream create a nice velvety sauce that coats the  pasta.  Serve with a poached egg atop the noodles and a spirited bunch of pea shoots. This dish likes black pepper. A lot of black pepper. Just go easy on the kid's plates - they don't love black pepper as much as we do.

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