Asparagus Pasta Carbonara
Add a pop of color to this fast and easy weeknight classic. The thin green asparagus meld effortlessly with the pasta and lends a bright dimension. It is a great alternative to peas with a refreshing take on this classic recipe.
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving, optional
3 large egg yolks
1 pound jumbo asparagus
8 ounces Pasta (fettuccine or spaghetti)
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Mix the Parmesan, egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a generous amount of black pepper together in a medium bowl; set aside.
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus stalks. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus into thin wide ribbons or thinly hand slice them. Set aside.
Cook your pasta of choice in the boiling water according to the package instructions for al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from the skillet. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the drained pasta and asparagus and toss until well coated and mixed with the bacon.
Whisk 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water into the egg mixture, then quickly pour it over the pasta and toss to gently cook the eggs and make a creamy sauce. Thin out the mixture with more pasta water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with the parsley and more Parmesan if desired.