Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sausage and Zucchini Carbonara

  The other day, while lazing on the couch with my iPad, I thought it was a grand shame I had all these interesting cooking apps, and I've not tried many of recipes in them.  Taking a few minutes to browse and swipe, this marvelous dish popped up on Jamie Oliver's app.  Italian sausage.  Zucchini.  Bacon.  Lemon Zest.  Pasta.   Yeah, I was goin' have to make this one, and you might, too.  This recipe says it serves 2 - well, those servings are very generous.  I'm thinking with a salad served along side, more like 3 or 4.

Sausage and Zucchini Carbonara
Serves 2-4

3 Italian sausages
2 slices of bacon
8 ounces dry spaghetti (recipe called for 9, but boxes around here come in 8 & 16.  Sorry, Jamie)
2 egg yolks (use the whites for breakfast in the morning, or freeze them)
1 medium zucchini
1/2 cup heavy cream
zest from 1/2 of a lemon
2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
a small bunch fresh Italian parsley (about half a bunch sold by my store)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

  In a stock pot, or other pot large enough to boil the pasta, add lots of water and a little salt (around 2 teaspoons.)  Put the pot on the stove to boil.  Now is a good time to do your prep work.  Chop the parsley finely, and set aside.  Trim off the ends of the zucchini.  Cut the zuke in half, lengthwise, and repeat for each half.  Now you should have 4 nice spears.  Slice up the quarters, and set aside.  Chop the bacon into small pieces.  Put a large frying pan on the stove with a little bit of olive oil on medium heat to warm.  Here's the fun part - you are going to make meatballs out of the Italian sausage.  With a sharp knife (paring knife works wonders for this), slit the sausage casing and squeeze out the sausages.  Wet your hands and pull each sausage apart into 6 chunks.  Roll each chunk into a mini meatball.  You should end up with about 18 little guys.

  By now, the pasta water should be boiling.  Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, making sure to stir from time to time, to keep the pasta from sticking.  Add the meatballs to the hot pan, and saute them for about 6 minutes, or until brown all over.

  While the pasta is boiling away and the meatballs are becoming golden brown and delicious, start putting together the sauce.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cream.  When those are thoroughly combined, whisk in the lemon zest and half of the grated Parmesan.  Add in most of the parsley to the egg mixture and stir.  Set aside.

  When the meatballs are brown, add in the zucchini slices and bacon to the frying pan.  Continue to saute until the bacon is cooked.

  The pasta should be finishing up about this time.  Carefully ladle out a cup of the pasta water and set aside.  This will be used to thin out the sauce later, if desired.  Drain the pasta in a colander.  Once drained, add the pasta to the large mixing bowl with the egg mixture.  Toss the pasta all around with tongs.  The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs and melt the cheese.  Pour the pasta and sauce into the frying pan with the meatballs, zucchini, and bacon.  Toss everything together; if the sauce is too thick for your liking, add in some of the pasta's cooking water until the consistency you desire.  Plate up the pasta and top with more of the parsley and Parmesan.  Enjoy!