This is an original Food Junta recipe, with no inspiration from anywhere other than my own imagination. Carbonara is typically pasta — usually spaghetti — with eggs, cheese, pork, and black pepper. You add the raw eggs directly to the pasta after it’s done cooking, and the heat of the pasta cooks the egg and makes it into a kind of sauce (though most recipes have you throw the whole thing into a skillet for a minute, just to be safe).
Mine is not technically a carbonara, nor is it even really following the exact method of making a carbonara. I just add the eggs on in here, and use the whole egg, not just the egg yolk, because what am I really going to do with a bunch of extra egg whites? But it is in the spirit of a carbonara, and the idea of a carbonara is what made me think of my last minute innovation to add the eggs (because I already had pasta, bacon, cheese, and black pepper…I felt like something was missing, and there was only one thing that could be).
This is the way this recipe grew in my head: First, I knew I wanted some pasta. Second, I knew I wanted it to be whole-wheat, because I wanted the bit of bite and flavor whole-wheat adds. Third, I knew I wanted there to be lots of cheese. Next came the squash. Next came the sage. Bacon makes everything better, and I had some, so that went in, too. I had a tomato in my fridge that badly needed to be used and was past the point of eating raw. Then, at the last minute, I thought the whole thing seemed a little bare, and decided that throwing an egg in would make it more decadent. One egg didn’t do much, so I added a second. Et voila!
Squash and Sage Carbonara
1 yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and then sliced into 1/4 inch slices
4 strips bacon
1 tomato, diced
8-10 sprigs fresh sage, torn into big pieces (about 3-4 pieces per leaf)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3-1/2 package whole-wheat pasta (I used fettucini)
1/8 c. or so pine nuts, toasted (you can put them on a tray in the toaster oven or regular oven for about 5 minutes — checking regularly — or you can toast them in a pan on the stove, stirring constantly)
2-3 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
good quality parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. When boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, fry bacon strips in pan for about 2 minutes on each side. Put on paper towels to blot fat. Drain bacon fat out of pan (do not pour down the sink! pour into a jar and let cool before throwing out). When cool, slice horizontally into wide chunks.
3. Add garlic to pan, cook, stirring, until just turning translucent (not until golden brown, or they’ll be blackened by the time you’re through).
4. Add squash to garlic in pan. Cook until turning golden brown. Add diced tomato. Cook until tomato is breaking down. Add a little more than half of the sage, cook for about thirty seconds. Add pine nuts and bacon. Season with salt and pepper (you shouldn’t need much salt). Take off of heat while pasta finishes cooking.
5. When pasta is done, drain and add to sauce. Immediately add beaten eggs. Stir and let sit for a few seconds, then put back on heat and toss a few times to make sure egg is cooked through.
6. Serve on plate, with freshly grated cheese and remaining sage sprinkled on top.