Pasta Carbonara with Leeks

Has anyone made a pavlova lately?  If you have, then you’ve ended up with a bunch of egg yolks, like I did, that you’re probably wondering what to do with.  They don’t last very long in the fridge, maybe 3-4 days, so use them up quickly before they all go bad.  There are a lot of dessert recipes you can make to use up those egg yolks but I urge you to do what I did.  Make a carbonara.  Now is the chance to decide for yourself whether it’s better to use whole eggs or just egg yolks alone, a big contention amongst carbonara aficionados.

Pasta Carbonara with Leeks

But don’t just make a traditional carbonara, make THIS Pasta Carbonara with Leeks like I did, since I happened to have 2 leeks leftover from when I made the Instant Pot Chicken with Barley and Leeks.  As much as I am a carbonara purist (I am vehemently against adding garlic, onions, cream, butter, milk, etc.) I value fighting food waste over it all.  So in they went and I couldn’t believe that a simple addition to a dish I’ve made possibly a thousand times, could elevate it to this entirely new creamy and delectable pasta to love.  All that delightful leek cooked down and caramelized in the bacon fat until they are rendered deliciously sweet.  Mmmm….I think this might just be my new favourite pasta dish!

-SS

P.S. You know the drill. Don’t pour the egg mixture directly into the pan while it’s on the stove or it will scramble.  Take the pan off the stove before you pour it in.  

Pasta Carbonara with Leeks

Pasta Carbonara with Leeks
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients:

4 slices bacon (unless you can get your hands on some guanciale), chopped finely
2 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced thinly
1/2 lb pasta of your choice (I used Spaghetti)
4 egg yolks
1.5 cup Parmesan, grated
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, add the bacon to a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the fat has rendered and the bacon is browned and crispy. Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon.

  2. With the heat on medium, add the sliced leeks. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cook until they are very tender, about 6 minutes.

  3. While the leeks are cooking, add a couple tablespoons of salt to the boiling water. Then dump in the pasta. Cook according to the directions on the box. Drain the pasta when done, reserving about 1.5 cups of the pasta water to use later.

  4. Toss the pasta into the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for a minute, tossing constantly to combine. Turn off the heat and take the pan off the stove.

  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the Parmesan cheese.  Season mixture with salt and freshly ground pepper then pour into pan (off the stove) and toss with noodles.  Keep adding pasta water a little at a time to loosen the sauce to allow it to coat the noodles evenly and to make the sauce even creamier.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the bacon and parsley.  Mix well.
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