Welcome back, my friends – ready for a ridiculously easy pasta recipe?
Now that we’re solidly into June, this heat-seeking Italian gal is getting her fill of long, sunshiny days. Hope you are, too!
Lately, I’ve been keeping it simple in the kitchen. Quick-cook, no-cook, sit-outside-and-relax dinners have become the order of the day.
I love nothing better than being spontaneous about food. For just a touch of guidance, though, throughout the year, I find myself taking full advantage of the fun “food holidays” that have somehow cropped up for just about every day of the year.
They may seem mostly random, but they’re a perfect fit for a freewheeling approach to summertime meals.
So I thought it would be fun and tasty to combine a few of these great flavors.
June opened with National Hazelnut Cake Day. I loooove hazelnuts (aka filberts), and I love telling the story of a visit to the province of Piemonte in Northern Italy.
After a day at the amazing Truffle Festival in the lovely town of Alba, I packed a beautiful hazelnut cake into my suitcase, together with a freshly harvested white truffle which the man who’d found it early that morning had given to me.
That truffle was so aromatic, and so potent, that once I got home, my hazelnut cake tasted more like truffle than hazelnuts!
Along with hazelnuts, we’re also celebrating National Egg Day and National Cheese Day this month – so I’m putting all these ingredients in today’s easy pasta recipe.
Use whole eggs for extra richness and flavor, or go with just egg whites if you’re cholesterol-conscious.
You’ll notice that I’ve included ham, rather than the traditional pancetta or bacon, in keeping with June’s “no-cook” approach to this easy pasta recipe. You can even leave it out completely for a vegetarian version.
Serve this rich, hearty pasta with a simple summer salad, and an easy-drinking wine such as a rosé or light red. Enjoy!!!
EASY PASTA CARBONARA WITH TOASTED HAZELNUTS (Serves 4)
1 lb. pasta (fettuccine is traditional, but use anything you like!)
4 to 6 eggs
1/3 to 1/2 lb. parmigiano, freshly grated, plus more for the table
1/3 to 1/2 lb. ham, cut in slivers
1/3 to 1/2 lb. hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 Tbl. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 to 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
Salt and additional freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. While it is cooking, beat eggs well, with a fork or whisk, in a small bowl. Continue beating as you add the parmigiano, ham, hazelnuts and black pepper to the eggs.
When the pasta is cooked to your liking (I prefer al dente), scoop out a cup of the cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta quickly, and transfer it immediately to a bowl. Pour in the egg mixture, stirring the pasta to coat all of it evenly. Add some of the reserved pasta water if necessary to moisten the pasta. The hot pasta should cook the egg mixture completely. Adjust seasonings, and keep stirring until all the ingredients are evenly mixed in.
Garnish with additional parsley and serve immediately, passing a bowl of freshly grated parmigiano.
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