As long as we’re talking about scrambled eggs, I’d like to share my recipe for kid-friendly linguine alla carbonara. I love anything carbonara (which is essentially anything with bacon in it), but for years didn’t make carbonara pasta dishes because a) the recipes call for raw eggs (and I have a salmonella phobia, particularly in any food that my children will eat), and b) it’s pretty fatty and caloric. I therefore came up with my own recipe. My kids think of it as a macaroni and cheese with bacon and they love it, while I find many of the wonderful flavors you get in a traditional carbonara but without the salmonella risk and without as much of the fat. Yes, it’s still fattier than some dishes, but not really any fattier than a home-made macaroni and cheese. Also, I add frozen peas at the end, so there’s technically a vegetable in there!
Kid-Friendly Linguine alla Carbonara
1 Tsp olive oil
6-8 slices of bacon sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 lb linguine
1 cup whole milk
1 cup non-fat milk (or you can just use two cups of 2% milk if you have it)
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup pecorino or sharp provolone cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pan, cook the bacon in the olive oil. Don’t crowd the pan, however, as the bacon will steam instead of getting crispy if there’s not enough room. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside. When pan cools a little, drain out the oil, but keep the crispy goodness on the bottom of the pan for later. Meanwhile, cook a pot of linguine in some salted water until al dente.
When the pasta is almost cooked, heat the milk in a pot over medium heat. Meanwhile, scramble some eggs in a heat-proof bowl. When the milks starts to slightly bubble around the edges, remove a ladel-full and add it to the scrambled eggs, being sure to stir the eggs while doing so. You are now essentially tempering the eggs so you can add them to the hot milk without scrambling them. Add the eggs to the hot milk, lowering the temperature to medium-low. Wisk to mix thoroughly. Cook for about 30 seconds and then turn the heat off. If the mixture starts to separate, it’s not a big deal. Your sauce will still be creamy and great. Add some salt and pepper to the egg/milk mixture to taste. Add the pasta to the bacon pan along with the egg mixture. Stir while scraping the bottom so you incorporate the bacon flavor from the pan into the pasta. Add the parsley, peas, and cheese and mix thoroughly. Finally, mix in the bacon bits and serve.
Special Ann Vegetarian Amendment: My friend Ann and I were pondering how to make this dish vegetarian. I think you could easily do this my substituting facon (is that how you spell it?) for bacon, although think that you should also saute some shallots (about 2 medium or 3 small ones) in olive oil to add extra flavor. You can then add the pasta to the facon/shallot pan and then proceed as normal with the remainder of the recipe.