Friday, April 18, 2008

Spaghetti Carbonara With Spinach and Tomato

1/2 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 slices Black Forest Ham,* cut into 1/2 in squares
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cup cooking liquid from pasta
1 egg
1 teaspoon butter
2 cups spinach, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 small tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Salt and pepper

Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil. When the water reaches a rolling boil add pasta and cook. Remove pasta from boiling water when it is still a little less done then you like it. The pasta will finish cooking in the pan with the sauce.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan with olive oil. Add onions and garlic. Cook until translucent. Season with pepper, but not salt. You'll get enough salt from the ham, cheese, and pasta liquid. Add ham and cook until crisp. Add balsamic vinegar and cook until the liquid has almost fully evaporated. Deglaze the pan with half a cup of cooking liquid from the pasta. Then add another half cup of cooking liquid. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.

Before draining the pasta, set aside 1/4 cup of cooking liquid, which will be used to temper the egg. Add drained pasta to the pan with the sauce. When the cooking liquid has cooled slightly, add the egg and mix. Pour the egg/water mixture over the pasta and toss, allowing the egg to cook without forming curds. Turn off the heat and add butter, spinach, and cheese. Toss pasta, allowing the spinach to wilt.

Place in pasta bowls, sprinkle some Parmesan and fresh pepper, and garnish with tomatoes and pine nuts.

* Black Forest Ham can be replaced with bacon, prosuitto, or – for a vegitarian version – tempeh bacon.

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