Healthy skinny spaghetti carbonara in a light, creamy sauce mixed with peas and bacon.
I’ve been having quite a craving for pasta recently. This weekend we dined out and I had me some Seafood Rasta Pasta which was fettuccine in a super, super rich alfredo-like sauce with clams and shrimp. It was freaking delicious but undoubtedly not very good for me. Even my body knew this, as I could only stomach a small serving of it at a time and started getting queasy halfway into it. But! It was delicious.
So today we are making some skinny spaghetti carbonara which still has a little creaminess to it, but just enough to be manageable. Let’s get started.
While not oh-so-good but oh-so-bad-for-your-heart kind of creamy, like the kind you see in Italian restaurants that score in the high 1000 caloric scale, it still tastes good. At least to me and Mr. Cooking Jar. After feeling guilty for indulging in the decadence that was the Rasta Pasta, I was willing to sacrifice some creaminess to keep it under 500 calories. The good part though: the smoky, addictive bacon flavor more than made up for it. And those peas! Those roly poly peas! Besides adding a splash of vibrant color to everything, if you cook it right and don’t use frozen peas, those peas will be nice and plump.
Now, onto some history! Carbonara is Italian of course and comes from Latium, Rome. Based on a sauce made from eggs, cheese and bacon, this hearty pasta was believed to be made for Italian charcoal workers since the name stems from the Italian word carbonaro which means ‘charcoal burner’. It’s even been called Coal Miner’s Spaghetti!
You can use Parmesan also called Parmigiano-Reggiano (now you know how to say it in Italian) or Pecorino Romano which is cheese from sheep milk. The tricky thing about Carbonara is making sure the eggs don’t coagulate or scramble. I made this mistake 15 years or so back when I first tried my hand at it; due to impatience, I thought I could cheat and did it over high heat. Bad mistake! Came out with this scrambled mess of goop that I didn’t really want to eat. So don’t cheat. You can’t get away with it. The Carbonara will know.
The common technique is to cook the pasta first and reserving some pasta water, dumping the hot pasta and some pasta water directly onto a mix of beaten eggs, cheese and pepper. The whole thing is stirred until the eggs cook slightly from the residual pasta heat then left to sit while it thickens. The marriage of the pasta and eggs is all done away from direct heat.
SKINNY SPAGHETTI CARBONARA TIPS AND TRICKS
Eggs: Keep the eggs at room temperature to help them cook faster
Tossing: Add the peas and bacon last to keep their color vibrant and prevent the peas from splitting from too much stirring
Pasta: You can choose whole wheat spaghetti over regular to keep it even healthier.