Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A perfect night for pasta

Well today was NOT a beautiful fall day in was a cold, rainy day in Kentucky.

For dinner I made Pasta Carbonara with Leeks and Lemon from the November 2011 issue of Everyday Food. It was just what we needed on a day like today, warm and delicious. In the past I would not have made a recipe that used leeks because they were in the category of Foods I've Never Had but Suspect I Won't Like. Luckily, we ate at FIG last summer in Charleston and I had one of the best meals of my life - braised pork belly on a bed of mashed potatoes with leeks and rock shrimp - and my eyes were opened to the loveliness of leeks.

Here's the recipe:

salt + pepper
6 slices bacon, cut into 1" pieces
4 leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and thinly sliced
3/4 pound campanelle
2 large eggs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley

1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 Tablespoons fat from skillet (there wasn't any fat to pour when I cooked my bacon). Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until leeks are golden brown, about 10 minutes.

2. Add pasta to pot and cook according to package instructions. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, Parmesan, and lemon zest and juice. Whisk 1/4 cup pasta water into egg mixture.

3. Drain pasta and immediately add to egg mixture, along with bacon, leeks, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Sprinkle with more cheese if desired and serve immediately.

Though the weather was semi-yucky, I didn't really mind. The coming seasons will be full of firsts for Ellie and our little family. I am looking forward to our first winter together - our noses turning bright red when we go outside - snuggling them away when we are back inside.

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