First and foremost, happy birthday to my little brother who is 20 today! Oh my god I can’t believe I just wrote that, I didn’t realize he would be out of his teens this year. Sheesh. Imagine how I’ll feel when my little sister, who is 9 years younger than me, gets to be in her twenties. Talk about a mind-fuck. Unfortunately, I can’t be around to celebrate with him today but he and I will be attending a Third Eye Blind concert on June 16 (one of our favorite bands) and you can bet I’ll also be baking him a cake when I get home (probably pound cake since he is obsessed with it right now – keep in mind this is the boy who has the metabolism of a horse, he could eat Tex-Mex and Chinese food every day and not gain an ounce. Trust me, he’s tried it.). My brother and I shared a room for our entire lives, so suffice it to say I couldn’t live without him – hope you have a great day Daniel!
Now, however, I have some very solemn news for you. I have made my last batch of Pappardelle’s Pasta. It was hard parting with it, but it had to be done. The flavor for this one was…wait for it….wait for it….SWEET POTATO PAPPARDELLE. That is right, you didn’t think the sweet potato queen was going to leave for her vacation in a week without leaving you with some sweet potatoes to savor, did you? Trying to figure out what to make with this pasta was hard, very hard, probably because I was so partial to it. I could have gone in so many directions and had ideas continuously running through my mind – I could have done some sort of tequila lime cilantro cream sauce, some kind of pesto, some kind of alfredo, or a simple garlic and oil.
But no. It struck me (eventually) that something that goes really well with sweet potatoes is bacon. The intense salt of the bacon combined with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes is every sweet/savory lover’s dream. Therefore, the obvious recourse was to make a carbonara sauce, which is something that I’ve never had before let alone made (my parents are kind of skittish about raw eggs). So who did I turn to, none other than the meat and potatoes man himself – Mr. Tyler Florence! I got this recipe from the Food Network’s website and so it’s slightly different from the one in his cookbook. I changed it by using turkey bacon instead of pancetta, adding broccoli for some color and volume and vitamin C, adding in some cream to the egg/parmesan sauce, and tempering the egg mixture with 3/4 cup of pasta water before mixing it with the pasta to avoid scrambling. Trust me, if you make this you will want to add some pasta water otherwise there will not be enough sauce to go around! The bacon and broccoli were so good with the sweet potato pasta and creamy sauce. I will definitely be making this again (albeit with regular pasta) and will maybe even try the recipe from his cookbook for comparison.
Sweet Potato Carbonara
Serves 4, adapted from Tyler Florence
1 lb sweet potato pappardelle (or any other stringy pasta)
1/4 lb extra lean turkey bacon, cut into small pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb broccoli
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste
1. Start boiling the pasta water before anything. Then, set up the broccoli to steam.
2. Heat a non-stick pan, spraying with some PAM olive oil spray (or just use some olive oil). Saute the turkey bacon until crisp. This takes longer than regular bacon for some reason. Once it is crisp, add in the garlic and saute for 1 min. When the broccoli is done, add that as well.
3. While the bacon cooks, in a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, parmesan cheese, and half and half. Once the pasta water boils, slowly add some of it to this mixture, stirring all the while so that the eggs don’t scramble. Add in some black pepper.
4. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, toss it with the broccoli, bacon, and garlic mixture. Slowly pour in the sauce, attempting to stir while you do this. From all the pasta water you just added, scrambling really shouldn’t be a problem so don’t worry too much. Really, stirring it is much easier said than done.