Saturday, May 1, 2010

Veggie Carbonara & Parmesan Cups

The inspiration for this dish came from the beautiful eggs I bought at the farmstand, and from wanting to use some bright spring vegetables. I thought a vegetable carbonara might be good - replacing the pancetta with asparagus, peas, and fava beans. I could only find dried fava beans and after a couple attempts to boil them, I quickly decided to not use them. They were just not looking good...kind of yellowish and not the bright green I was hoping for.

I made the carbonara by cooking the vegetables separately and adding them to the pasta with the egg sauce at the last minute, as you would do with pancetta - cook first and set aside, then add at the end. Here's how to do the egg sauce, with the measurements I used:

9 oz. pasta (spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccine)
2 large eggs
2 Tbl. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to instructions on the package. Beat together the eggs, and mix in the cheese. Once pasta is cooked, drain and put it back into the pot over very low heat. Slowly add the egg mixture while gently stirring the pasta and the egg will lightly scramble. Make sure the egg is completely incorporated with the pasta and just lightly cooked so that it turns a pale, creamy color. Add the pancetta (or vegetables) and garnish with more cheese and freshly ground pepper.

Well...Peter gave it a 6 out of 10. Hmm. On this scale, he gave the Thai grilled steak a 9 out of 10. Oh well. I guess carbonara just isn't the same without pancetta.

Now, for the parmesasn cups. My friend Courtney sent me a message saying she had been trying to make them and it wasn't working so well - she was getting something closer to "cheese tacos". And she asked if I would give them a try. Let's do it! I found some instructions in Food & Wine for parmesan cups with an eggplant salad, so I went with that.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese for each cheese cup. Spread the cheese onto a lightly oiled baking sheet, into about a 6-inch circle for each cup. Cook for 3 minutes, let cool for 30 seconds, then drape the cheese over an upside down bowl and let cool completely.

Start with cheese grated into big pieces. I bought it pre-grated.

Here's the first ones I attempted. I made the cheese circles a bit too dense, so once they cooled they were too soft.

I tried it again, spreading the cheese out more and cooking them at 425 degrees instead of 350.

Ok, better. Still not as crispy as I thought they would be, but they looked very nice and obviously tasted good. I mean, how can parmesan cheese not taste good? Here's the second one (left) compared to the first one (right). Bigger and not as dense.

I put caeser salad in them:

So pretty! This would be a something fun to make for a dinner party. I'd also like to try making little parmesan crisps to put on top of a salad - making much smaller rounds on the baking sheet and letting cool on a rack instead of over a bowl. Courtney, I hope this helps!

No comments:

Post a Comment