Pasta purists, consider this your invitation to gang up on me. Well, first, let me apologize. If not to you, then to my great-grandmother because she is surely pissed at me right now. I’ve done the cardinal sin number one when it comes to Pasta Carbonara and I’ve added peas. Oh, and, while I was at it, some asparagus too.
Look, I know it’s not right. I know if you’re a pasta purist, your head might start spinning Poltergeist -style but can we just agree to disagree on this one? It’s spring and, in case you haven’t noticed, that means I’m having a full-on fest with all things asparagus and peas and putting them everywhere, including in this Pasta Carbonara.
But where I won’t go astray? Technique. Because while I may be committing a pasta sin with the addition of peas and veggies, I won’t stand for cream added – that’s just pasta heresy in my mind. I mean, ever since my trip to Rome last summer, I’ve been mastering this Carbonara technique so I could do it justice. What’s that? You say I’m the pot calling the kettle black? Well, I only said I wasn’t a heretic, nothing about hypocrisy.
(about 1/3 packed cup), plus additional for serving
(about 1/3 packed cup)
cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
(about 3/4 box)
(about 7 ounces)
trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
for garnish (optional)
Place a large pot of lightly salted water (no more than 1 tablespoon salt) over high heat, and bring to a boil. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and pecorino and Parmesan. Season with a pinch of salt and generous amount of black pepper. Set the water to boil. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the pork, and sauté until the fat just renders, so it's on the edge of crispness but not hard. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add pasta to the water and boil until a bit firmer than al dente. About 2 minutes before pasta is ready, add asparagus and peas and reheat pork in the skillet, if needed. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta and vegetables and add to the skillet over low heat. Stir for a minute or so.
Remove from heat, stir in cheese mixture, adding some reserved pasta water as needed for creaminess. Serve immediately, dressing it with a bit of additional grated pecorino, pepper, and parsley.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp