Dinner Tonight: Lemony Pasta Carbonara

Sometimes I worry that I’m losing brain cells at an alarming rate. Locking myself out of my house not once, but twice, seems to support this theory. For more evidence, read on.

I was trying to find some good vegetarian recipes, since I have a few readers and friends who don’t eat meat. When I decided to make this pasta, I thought it would be a perfect example of a meat-free dish; I was quite proud of myself, I might add. I was forgetting one very important, non-vegetarian element: bacon. Yes, friends, there is bacon in this dish. Somehow I completely spaced out the fact that bacon is meat, therefore NOT vegetarian-friendly.

Despite what the Sonic guys say, bacon isn’t some sort of plant that grows on a farm. Whoops! While I couldn’t bring myself to scrap the bacon from the recipe, (it was sitting in the fridge, just begging to be used!) I did think of a good substitute. Nuts. More specifically, almonds or walnuts. The flavor will be different, but I love the taste and texture that toasted nuts give to pasta dishes.

To my vegetarian friends, please forgive me.

Lemony Pasta Carbonara
Adapted from a Rachael Ray Show recipe

Printable Recipe

Salt & pepper
Extra-wide egg noodles
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 lb bacon, chopped (or 1/2 cup chopped, toasted nuts)
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped, greens and whites separated
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
¾ to 1 c. white wine
3 egg yolks
¼ to ½ c. flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ to ¾ c. grated parmesan cheese (plus some for serving)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the pasta to al dente, and reserve ¾ c. of the pasta cooking water.

In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, cook the bacon. (If you’re not using bacon, skip this step.) If needed, add a bit of olive oil, then stir in the garlic and the scallion whites, lemon zest, and thyme. Stir for a couple of minutes, then add the white wine. Reduce the wine by half (about 2 minutes) and turn the heat to low.

When the pasta is almost done, beat the egg yolks with some of the pasta cooking water to temper them (so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs in your pasta).

Then add the lemon juice, parsley, scallion greens, and nuts (if using) to the skillet. Drain the pasta and add it as well. Turn off the heat, pour in the eggs, and add the cheese. Toss the pasta thoroughly, so it absorbs the sauce and the cheese. When serving, top with a little more cheese. 

Serves 4

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