Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

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Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus
Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

Spaghetti Carbonara is a classic and traditional pasta dish from Lazio, Italy and it is one of our all-time favorites. It is a simple dish to create but has so much flavor! When looking for a pasta dish that really satisfies without being time consuming, this is what we often go with. But don’t let its simplicity of this Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus fool you! The ingredients combine for a flavorful and vibrant dish!

What’s in this Carbonara?

There are only a few ingredients in this dish, but what you choose to use with define the flavor. Here’s what we recommend:

Guanciale

Guanciale is a piece of meat that is from the cheek of the pig and cured. It has a fatty composition, similar to bacon. However, it is not smoked, and the flavor is much different than using bacon in this dish. It is worth looking for guanciale as it is traditional in this dish and its taste and texture are fantastic.

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus
Adding asparagus to this carbonara gives it a nice added freshness and vibrance!

We’ve eaten “carbonara” that uses bacon and it’s just not the same. The smokiness and saltiness of bacon can overwhelm the dish. But if you absolutely needed a substitute, pancetta is the best option, and bacon as a last resort.

Pecorino Romano Cheese

There is no real debate as to what cheese to use if you are trying to be authentic. It’s sheep’s milk Pecorino Romano. And it is wonderful here. You want to find a less-aged cheese if you have your choice, as there will be more creaminess when the sauce is made. If you want to use Parmigiano Reggiano, the flavor will be different and you’ll lack the true authenticity (albeit outstanding as well). But just do you! Either way, high quality cheese is a must!

Asparagus

To add a vibrant twist to the original Spaghetti Carbonara, we add asparagus. The asparagus add just the touch of freshness to lighten up the whole dish without changing to overall flavor profile.

Cooking the Spaghetti

The last thing that we have found to be helpful is to cook your pasta in less water than usual. Using less water will ensure that the water will be more starchy than normal. You will need a little water to make the sauce come together in the end and it’s better if it is starchy.

When making this dish, we also use a little less salt in the pasta cooking water. Using less salt in the water is beneficial because the guanciale and Pecorino are both quite salty on their own.

Enjoy!

We hope that you enjoy this recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus
Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

Looking for more recipes like this? Check these out:

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

5 from 2 votes
Course: DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Total time

30

minutes

Ready to make this recipe? Click HERE to have the ingredients delivered straight to your door!

Ingredients

  • Ingredients
  • 8 oz asparagus

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • 5 ounces guanciale – small dice

  • 4 egg yolks

  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano* cheese

  • 1 -2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

  • 1 lb Spaghetti (for homemade, use 1 recipe of our Multipurpose Pasta Dough)

Directions

  • First, prepare the asparagus. Cut the tips off and reserve. The remainder of the asparagus spear should be cut into thin rounds (1/4 inch or even less). Fill a medium saucepot with water and bring to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready to shock the asparagus. When the water boils, add a tablespoon of salt, and stir. Add the asparagus tips for about 10 seconds then add the rest of the asparagus pieces for another 30 seconds. Remove or strain through a colander all the asparagus and immediately put them into the ice bath. Once they have cooled down, remove the asparagus and dry on paper towels. Set aside.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and cook the guanciale until it becomes somewhat crispy (5-10 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain excess fat.
  • While your guanciale browns, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Use less water than you normally would to make a pound of pasta (about 3 quarts). Salt the water with about 2 Tbsp of kosher salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the crisped guanciale, egg yolks, cheese and pepper and mix thoroughly. Add the asparagus to this mixture. Set aside.
  • Add the spaghetti to the pot and cook until al-dente. Move the spaghetti directly from the pot to the large mixing bowl and stir for about 20 seconds. If you need more creaminess and sauce, add a little of the pasta water to the bowl. Serve immediately with extra grated cheese on top.

Notes

  • You can substitute Parmigiano Reggiano for Pecorino with great results in this dish.
  • If you cannot find guanciale, use pancetta, or as a last resort, bacon.
  • For store bought pasta, follow the package directions to cook your pasta al dente. If using our Mutlipurpose Pasta Dough recipe, cook fresh spaghetti for 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness of your cut pasta.

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