This weekend was a girls weekend. I spent time with two of my best girlfriends, and we had the grandest time!! The grandest time to us usually means food, and we didn't skimp out once this weekend. We visited a local Memphis Italian restaurant, Bari Ristorante, not once but twice for dinner - Saturday and Sunday - and ordered the pasta carbonara. Since it was so good, I insisted on having it again Monday night, but this time I was the chef! I had never cooked it before so I said, what the heck, and added a little spin on the traditional dish. A little spice and a little asparagus never hurt anybody!
• Kosher Salt
• 1/2 lb spaghetti
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 2 strips thick cut bacon - cut into small pieces
• 3 garlic cloves - minced
• 1 tsp red pepper flake
• 1 bunch asparagus - ends trimmed and discarded, tops shaved with a vegetable peeler
• 2 eggs
• 3/4 cup fresh Parmesan - grated
• 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
• 1/4 tsp pepper
• 1 tbsp butter
1. In a large pot, heat water to a boil with a handful of salt. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, add bacon and sauté until crispy. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels.
2. Turn the heat down to medium low (so the garlic doesn't burn) and add garlic and red pepper flake to the bacon fat. Cook for one minute or until fragrant. Add the shaved asparagus and sauté until soft.
3. When salty water comes to a boil, cook the spaghetti. Cook for about 6-7 minutes or until al dente.
*** Do not drain the spaghetti. You want to reserve the pasta water for the sauce, and the hot spaghetti will help cook the sauce.
4. Whisk together 2/3 cup of the Parmesan, eggs, salt, and pepper. As soon as the spaghetti is done cooking, using tongs, immediately add the noodles into the asparagus mixture, take off the heat, and pour in the egg mixture. Stir the eggs into the pasta as fast as you can for several minutes. *** you want the hot noodles to cook the eggs, but you don't want the eggs to scramble.
5. Add pan back to low heat, add 1/4-1/2 cup of the hot pasta water, depending on how thick or think you like your sauce. Then stir in the butter and the bacon pieces. Top with the remaining Parmesan.