Carbonara with a Twist

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

As I write this post my sink is full. There is flour spread haphazardly on my countertops. There are toys everywhere. There are at least two loads of laundry that need folding. Maybe three. But who’s counting? Weeds need pulling outside. Our carpets need vacuuming. The bathrooms need cleaning. And our realtor could text me at any moment to say someone wants to see our house in an hour.

But I’m ignoring all that because… well… I have been wanting to share this recipe and I cannot wait any longer!

And, on top of it, the kids are ALL napping!?!? I’m still skeptical. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I wanted to do an Udon noodles twist on an Italian classic… Carbonara. Traditionally it is made with pancetta, egg yolks, and parmesan. I kept the yolks and parm. I replaced the pancetta with bacon. And I added in some leeks and goat cheese for the twist.

Oh yes. And I used udon noodles. Asian noodles in an Italian dish. Seems strange. It’s delicious. If you want something a bit more ‘authentic’ for these noodles you can click here or here.

Why leeks? Goat cheese? Bacon?

Well, I happened to have leeks in my fridge. This is not a normal occurrence, but they were calling my name to experiment with at the grocery store. I had goat cheese in my fridge, too. This is a very common occurrence if I have anything to say about it. And I usually do. Being the primary grocery-shopper has its advantages. And bacon? Well, it’s just delicious. So there.

Ready to do this dance?

Boogie down.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

First up… the leeks.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Despite the steps involved in chopping and cleaning these babies… the process is really not so bad. After I remove the dark green tops and the roots at the bottom, I also like to remove the outermost layer of each of the leeks. This layer seems a bit… hmmm… papery??… maybe that’s not the correct word. In any case, I remove it.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Don’t be alarmed if you find dirt in between the layers. This is NORMAL. You do not have a dirty leek.

Well, actually…. you do. Leeks usually are dirty. They have dirt between their layers that need cleaning. Not to worry. This is a problem that is easily remedied!

The white and light green parts of the leek get sliced thinly.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Now for the washing! Be sure you wash them by soaking them in water. Move them around with your fingers to help loosen any dirt hidden between the layers. I break apart all the slices into little rings to be sure I get all the dirt. You drain the leeks and repeat the ‘washing’ process if you don’t think they’re clean enough, but usually one wash will do the trick.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

The leek rings get drained and patted dry on a paper towel or two.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

And you must have garlic. I used four cloves and minced them up finely.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

And give some parsley a rough chop. About 1/4 cup plus more for garnish.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Ah bacon. I just cut a 12 oz package in half…

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

And without separating them, I just sliced the slices into bits…

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Next comes the eggs. Egg yolks to be specific. Four of them. I whisked them together with a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

So decadent!!

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Shred up some parmesan so it’s ready when you need it. Shred some extra for topping. And for snacking.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

And now… finally… it’s time to cook! All the prep is totally worth it. It makes the cooking process much smoother and stress-free.

Fry up your bacon…

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

I added a few turns of fresh black pepper. You can add more or less or none…. depending on how much you like pepper.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

You want your bacon just crisp… tender-crisp I’d call it. Burnt bacon is horrible. It’s terrible. Start over if you burn it! I mean it.

Transfer it to paper towels to drain…

IMG_7233

Toss the sliced leeks into the bacon fat and cook them until they’re softened a bit… about 2 minutes.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Add in the minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds more.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Deglaze the pan with chicken stock. Once it comes to a boil you want to turn down the heat and let this mixture simmer for about 5 minutes.

IMG_7236

If you are using dried udon noodles… this is the PERFECT time to drop them into a pot of already boiling, salted water. You could really use any spaghetti-like pasta for this recipe though… or pretty much any pasta shape for that matter! Just be sure to drop your pasta early enough so it is done at about the same time the leek-stock mixture is done simmering.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

When draining the pasta I reserved about 1/2 to 1 cup of the pasta water. You’ll need this to temper your eggs. This heats them up slowly so they don’t become scrambled eggs when they’re added to the hot pasta dish!

Pour 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water into your eggs. Do this slowly and whisk the whole time you’re pouring!

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Let the bacon rejoin the party.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Then the pasta goes in and you turn off the heat under the pan.

In goes the egg yolk mixture!

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Give all that a really good toss.

Add in some parmesan and crumble in some goat cheese.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Another good toss… and finally…

Butter. Just in case this dish wasn’t decadent enough. Haha.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

You can splash in some more pasta water at this point if you want. Just do a couple tablespoons or a splash at a time. Then toss well and see if you’re happy with the consistency.

Give the pasta a taste and season with more salt if you think it needs it. The bacon and parmesan are pretty salty so I waiting to add more salt until this point. I only added about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon more but I thought it needed a touch more salt.

When you’re happy with the consistency and the seasoning… it’s time to add the final ingredient!

Parsley.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Time to serve!

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Time to EAT!!

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Going.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

Going.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

GONE.

Carbonara with Leeks, Bacon, & Goat Cheese

{Time for a second helping!}

finaltext

Here’s your printable recipe!

love, jenna

Advertisements

I'd love to hear from you! Keep the comments coming.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s