Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lemon Scented Carbonara

Lemon Scented Carbonara

Well hello there in Internet land. As you know, I try my hardest to blog about what I make in real time, meaning usually it was a week or so ago that I actually ate what were talking about here. Long story short- I am an exceptional hot mess and this ridiculously good recipe got pushed to the back of the pile. I made this in June when it was still spring in the rocky mountains (summer is a lolligagger in the higher elevations) and a nip was in the air come night time- which come to think of it, is the same weather we experience now, during the fall months. It's an old hardy har joke around here that Steamboat Springs experiences four seasons: winter, winter, 4th of July, and winter. Are you laughing? Me neither. Unfortunately this is somewhat true. It starts to snow come October but doesn't stick (stay on the ground) until about Halloween. It continues to be "winter" complete with snowstorms well in to May. Come June there's still a morning and evening nip. July and August are hot but come September 1st, fall kicks it into high gear until the middle of October. Not enough time if you ask me. Fall is my favorite time of year! Can I get an amen?

A lot of people say they couldn't live with our seasons. Most of those people have never seen Steamboat. We live in a paradise. Plus we get plenty of "blue bird days" during the winter months. This means, the sun comes out and although the temperature doesn't breach 50 degrees, like ever, you have these incredibly clear, blue, crisp sun shiny days imaginable. I know I just raved about Crested Butte and how beautiful it was compared to Steamboat earlier this summer. And it is jaw dropping. But Steamboat has charm, sweeping green valleys, tall aspen and pine trees, hidden rivers and creeks wind their way through town, well maintained hiking and biking paths are everywhere, wild flowers grow like weeds and Main St. is picture perfect. See?

photo courtesy of USA Today

What a sweet view, huh? Speaking of views, our house sold, we have moved, and this is our new one...


Not too shabby, eh? Okay, so it's not my view but rather, my in-laws. And yes, we are living with them for a few weeks until we find a place to rent. It is actually working out really well. We are not losers. Shut-it. I know how you think.

I suppose since the weather is exactly like when I made this pasta the first time, I should consider making it again. Traditional carbonara's are heavy although in a delicious way and fits the bill perfectly on a cold night. This version keeps all the creamy goodness you would normally find, but it's lightened up and made healthier by the addition of a ton of fresh herbs and lemon. Were talkin' fresh basil, scallions, garlic, thyme, and parsley, with pasta, pancetta, white wine, lemon, and both Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheese. Oooooooh, yeah baby! You can use just Parmesan cheese if say, you are- hypothetically speaking of course- on a budget and realize when you pick up the block of Romano that it's an additional $12.94 on top of the $11 dollars worth of Parmesan you just chucked in your cart and refuse to pay $24 dollars in cheese for one meal that already broke the herb bank in the produce aisle. Yeah, don't even feel bad about that.


Disclaimer in case you are not familiar with carbonaras: Carbonara gets it's signature thick sauce from a combination of egg yolks, cheese, pancetta drippings and a little starchy pasta water. Don't be alarmed when you are asked to mix raw egg yolks directly into the hot pasta. The temperature of the noodles will cook the yolks, so no worries.

Lemon Scented Carbonara

Lemon Scented Carbonara
adapted from Rachael Ray

serves 4 or 6 (if your not as hungry)

Salt and coarse black pepper
1 lb. egg tagliatelle pasta (the egg pasta is a must)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 lb. pancetta, finely chopped
1 bunch thin scallions, finely chopped whites and greens separated
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large lemon
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup dry white wine
3 large egg yolks
a handful of flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
a couple handfuls freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
a couple handfuls freshly grated pecorino romano cheese (or more parmesan to sub)
Shredded basil for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving about 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta, season with 1 teaspoon black pepper and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the scallion whites and garlic. Zest the lemon over the pan, stir in thyme and cook for 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the heat to low.

In a medium bowl, beat the reserved pasta cooking water with the egg yolks to temper them. Add the juice of the lemon, the parsley and scallion greens to the skillet. Add a pinch or two of salt.

Add the pasta to the skillet, turn off the heat and pour in the tempered eggs. Sprinkle in a small handful of each of the cheeses and toss vigorously for 1 minute until the sauce coats the pasta and is thick and shiny. Serve in shallow bowl with extra cheese and basil on top.

Dust off your chopping knife. The best way to tackle this thing is to chop everything (and zest your lemon) before hand. Then measure out the wine and put your egg yolks in a bowl and have everything ready to go into the pot when it's time. It will make your cooking much smoother.


  1. This looks yummy~ I must try! Hope you find a place to rent soon! Gorgeous photos!

  2. I just ate lunch but now am extremely hungry again. I wonder why?!?

    Love the look of your town, so pretty. I have always wanted to live near the mountains but am not sure it will happen.

  3. will you please stop over my house and make this for me? :) pretttty please!

  4. I love it, but i don't know if I can get over the eating of the egg....i know it cooks, but does it really? ARGH!!! nice view from the one thinks your a loser! You have cool in laws, would suck if you didn't!!!!!

  5. This looks awesome! Definitely putting this on my list to make in the near future. Make sure to stop by my blog for my first foodie giveaway. I think you will love it! :)

  6. okay, this seriously looks amazing! :) yum yum!