Thursday, April 2, 2015

Luscious Spaghetti Carbonara

Let me be quick and to the point.

I love this pasta!!! 

It's insanely good, and it's a Tyler Florence recipe which is always the ultimate kind.  He can rock some recipes!

If you've never had it before, Spaghetti Carbonara is a simple and a relatively inexpensive meal.  His recipe calls for bacon although I think pancetta is the original way to make it.  It's rich and very decadent which is probably why I haven't made it at home yet, because I usually save those meals for the special dinner out.  My kids ravaged their plates and asked for more, so needless to say it was a major hit at our house!

If I have any Italian comfort food fans out there, here is your go-to dinner for a fancy pants meal without all the fuss.  Perfect for birthdays, dinner parties, or a Friday night- classic movie night at home!

Spaghetti Carbonara

Kosher Salt (I used sea salt.)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I omitted this since my bacon was fatty enough, but I'm sure it's good.)
8 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 onion, chopped
4 large eggs
6 Tbsp. heavy cream (I used half n half.)
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 lb. spaghetti
1/4 c. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (I used fresh basil.)

Bring a big pot of salted water to boil for the spaghetti.

Heat a three count of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the bacon and onion and cook for 7-8 minutes, until onion is caramelized and the bacon is crisp.  While that is going, crack the eggs into a large serving bowl.  Scrape the bacon and onion into the bowl along with the cooking fat. (I drained the fat here instead....sorry Tyler but a girl has to think of her arteries from time to time.)

By now your pasta water has come to a boil. Throw in the spaghetti and give it a stir to separate the strands; cook for the time allotted on the box for al dente pasta. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and add that to the bowl while whisking the bacon and eggs the entire time.  (You want to be careful not to curdle the eggs here.)  Then drain the pasta and add it to the bowl.  Give everything a toss.  Invert a plate on top of the bowl top hold in the heat and let the pasta set for 5 minutes.  Remove the plate and toss in some salt and lots of cracked black pepper (YUM!) and the parsley, and you will have a beautiful, comforting Italian dinner!

**Tyler Florence is the BOSS of cooking, so I recommend doing it his way first. :)

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Delicious Sweet & Sour Green Beans

Today I'm sharing with you one of my all-time favorite green bean recipes, and that's saying something!  

I'm a big fan of green bean and think they're especially good fresh from the farmer's market or better yet, garden.  I have a history of loving me some classic green bean casserole at the holidays, delicious green bean bundles, and sophisticated haricot vert with butter and almonds.  I grew up on fresh cooked down green beans with ham hock or bacon, but this is a newer favorite and equally satisfying favorite.  Sweet, savory, salty and satisfying is this dish!  

I've used this particular recipe from Southern Plate before-- I love her recipes-- although the first time I had green beans cooked like this was in high school (Thanks Mrs. Ward!) before I knew anything much about food or cooking, but I will never forget this signature sweet and sour flavor!  When I came across this recipe, I was excited to make it for myself!  

Back to the recipe... Since I tweak everything a little, I usually I like to add diced red bell pepper for extra color and natural sweetness.  Also, I use brown sugar instead of white because in my opinion it's always better.  This recipe is tangy from the sugar and vinegar combination, and that is what makes it stand out!  Of course the bacon elevates it all and adds a crazy good depth of flavor...

Because anything that starts out calling for bacon and onions is amazing, amiright?!! 

I really do hope you can try out these decadent green beans for a special meal.  Easter would be a wonderful time to make some green beans with a delicious baked ham!  Let me know what you think.

Sweet & Sour Green Beans
Original recipe at Southern Plate

•1 lb. Green beans
•1/4 lb. or about 3 slices bacon, chopped
(Kitchen scissors are great for when cutting thinly sliced bacon.)
•1/2 small onion, chopped
•1/2 red bell, chopped
•2 Tbsp. Cider vinegar
•2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
•Salt & Fresh ground black pepper
*Sometimes I add a splash of water or chicken broth. 
*Last night I didn't have any red bell pepper, so they aren't in the photo here.

In a pot of boiling water, cook green beans to soften for about 5 minutes.  (If you decide to use the thinner French green beans or even canned ones, skip this step.) Drain beans and set aside.

In a cast iron skillet on medium heat, sauté bacon, onion, and red bell til bacon is crispy.  Add the green beans, sugar, vinegar, salt and plenty of pepper.  This is where I usually splash in water or broth. Toss to coat and continue cooking the green beans until desired tenderness.  Probably another 15 minutes or so, but I like mine tender.  If they look too sticky add more liquid but they are not to be "boiling" but more of a sauté.  Taste as you go and add more vinegar or sugar to your own preference.  Serve hot and delicious!
Serves 3-4  This recipe easily doubles!

Have a very happy Easter, and remember He Is Risen!!!

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