Carbonara with Peas and Thyme
Mess Level: Moderate
Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min
- ½ lb Fettuccine or Bucatini Noodles
- 6 Egg Yolks
- ½ Cup Heavy Cream
- ½ Cup Shredded Parmesan
- 8 oz Thick Cut Bacon, Diced.
- 1 Bunch Fresh Thyme
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley (Optional)
- ½ Cup Shelled Sugar Snap Peas
- Salt to Taste
- Pepper to Taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and lightly salt it. Prepare an ice bath, then blanch the peas till bright green and tender (30 seconds to two minutes depending on pea size) then plunge into the ice bath. Chill and drain.
- Top off the boiling water and keep it on low till needed. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, cook the bacon until brown and crispy. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel and discard the bacon fat but save the pan, no need to wipe it out.
- Heat the cream until it’s hot but not boiling, then temper it into the egg yolks and add the salt, pepper, and grated parmesan. Beat until well mixed.
- Finely mince the parsely. Strip the thyme off its stems and give it a rough chop.
- Bring the water to a roiling boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. As soon as it is tender, pull the pasta out of the water and put it in the saute pan you cooked the bacon in. IMMEDIATELY drizzle in the egg/cream mixture while tossing with tongs. The heat from the pasta will thicken the sauce, this sometimes takes a few moments.
- Add the bacon, thyme, and peas, reserving some for garnish, and toss. Serve immediately with the reserved ingredients and the parsely.
Did You Make It? Tag Us!
- Vegetarian: Leave out the bacon and saute a few capers until they’re crispy instead!
- Gluten Free: Swap out your favorite gluten-free pasta!
Meal Prep: Follow these steps if you want to prep ahead of time:
- You can cook the bacon and the peas ahead of time and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. Simply reheat them in the saute pan when ready to make this. You can also pick and chop the herbs and store them in tightly sealed containers in the fridge. Everything else needs to be done day-of.
My sauce doesn’t seem to be thickening.
- Give it a few minutes while you clear away the dishes. Allowing it to cool slightly will help it all come together. Whatever you do, do not turn the burner on, you will scramble your eggs..
Do I have to use heavy cream for this recipe?
- You don’t! You can use milk or even the starchy pasta water right after the pasta has cooked. The cream just adds an extra layer of richness.
Can I use another cured meat?
- For sure, any cured meat you like will do.
Ramblings of a Line Cook
Carbonara is a strange phenomenon of timing, confidence, and a few deft twists of the tongs. It’s something you can make out of egg yolks, salt, and pasta water when the pantry is empty or it can be morphed into the rich decadence you’ll find in this recipe when the larder is bursting with bacon, cream, fresh peas and herbs from the farms.
It’s an edible cliche; It’s what I want I’m in the mood for something fancy and what I crank out when I’m exhausted and want to do the absolute least amount of work possible to get a bowl of carbs on the table.
You can dress it up, you can dress it down. And the days you become impatient and cook your pasta too early and then you’re forced to choose between overcooked pasta or a sauce that won’t thicken and that’ a choice you simply can’t make - So you turn the burner on to the lowest of the low settings, tricking yourself into thinking you can stir quickly enough over direct heat to keep from scrambling the eggs, and the eggs, of course, scramble anyways but somehow the pasta is still good.
The truth of it is, I’ve never had a bad carbonara. It’s a dish that holds up on your worst day and on your best. And while the world keeps turning, though our lives have all but stopped, and the things that made a day good fraternize with the things that your nightmares are made of, this dish is exactly what I need it to be. Good no matter what.