The other day, my husband was reminiscing about our trip to Italy many years ago and dreaming about the excellent and authentic pasta carbonara he had there. Every time we talk about that trip, he brings up the carbonara! Tonight, I recreated this special dish for him. He had his over traditional pasta and I had mine over zucchini noodles. We were both delighted with the result! Carbonara is not particularly difficult to make, but can be tricky because, if you cook the egg-parmesan sauce at too high of a temperature, you get carbonara scramble instead of a creamy sauce, so be watchful. The thing I love most about this dish is that when served over zoodles and/or shiritaki noodles, it's an elegant and very low carb meal. I have provided the option to replace one of the zucchini with a package of shiritaki noodles. The shiritaki noodles absorb the sauce nicely and can provide a more noodle-like texture for those who may balk at the thought of an entire plate of vegetables! This low-carb carbonara is a great, quick meal when you want something spectacular that will impress, but don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. It would make a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner!
Zucchini Noodle Carbonara
Makes 4 servings
4 spirialized zucchini (use spaghetti blade)
1 package Angel Hair shiritaki noodles (optional, but if using, reduce number of zucchini to 3)
4 ounces pancetta, cubed (or substitute bacon)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 handful of fresh, flat-leaf parsley, chopped (or 1 TB dried)
1. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, brown the pancetta or bacon until crispy. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, remove pancetta and garlic to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Reduce heat to low. Remove all but about 2 TB of the grease in the skillet and add zucchini noodles. Sauté uncovered, stirring occasionally, to soften the zoodles and allow the zucchini to release some moisure.
2. Place the drained and rinsed shiritaki noodles (if using) into another dry pan or skillet and stir frequently over high heat until the moisture has evaporated. Remove from heat; set aside and keep warm.
3. When the zoodles are suffiencently soften to your liking, remove skillet from heat and allow to sit while you prepare the sauce ingredients (this is important!). Add the shiritaki noodles and toss to mix. In a small bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup grated cheese and egg; add to the noodle mixture, stirring constantly, until noodles are well coated. The residual heat from the skillet and noodles will cook the egg. Do not overcook! (If you see the egg beginning to seize up and scramble, immediately remove mixture from heated pan to prevent further cooking.) The sauce should be creamy and smooth. Season the carbonara with black pepper. Mound the carbonara into individual dishes, garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately. Pass extra shredded or grated cheese around the table.
Nutritional information per serving (1/4 recipe): 209 calories, 9 g carbohydrate (2.2 g dietary fiber, 5.2 g sugars), 13.7 g total fat (5.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 186 mg cholesterol, 470 mg sodium, 191.8 mg calcium, 597 mg potassium, 14.2 G protein. Net carbs per serving: 6.8 grams
Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2017
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without author's permission.