Wednesday, January 27, 2010

spaghetti carbonara... hold the cellulite

So, I was going to regale y'all with another Tale from the Breadline... but, quite frankly, all your questions wore the poo out of me!  And the season finale of Teen Mom is on, which obviously requires my full attention (will they show Farrah's Mom whacking Farrah? Lawdy, I hope so.  That girl deserves a good smack in the jaw).  Plus, I left my camera cord in the library today when I was moonlighting as a law student (pretending to have half the worries in the world and twice the ego) and I'm low on the juice.


ANYHOO... Carbonara!  Really badass Spaghetti Carbonara is one of my favorite Italian caloric splurges... which is surprising considering I hate white, creamy sauces. {Please.  I beg you.  No blow-job cracks.  I like to pretend we're more adult than that.  Even thought we're probably not.}  I first ordered this dish in (ironically) Spain at this fabulous restaurant mis amigos used to frequent (that was located in these gorgeous old Moorish bath houses... oh Sevilla.  le sigh) and those who knew me best were like "Yo! Are you off your rocker?  That's a cream sauce!"  And I was like "Dude.  I know.  But its amazing."  And THEN I found out that most of the creaminess in Carbonara is actually egg that cooks purely from the heat of the cooked pasta (not over the stove, etc) and Parmesan.  So HA!  NOT really a cream sauce!  At least that's what I tell myself.  We'll just ignore that "heavy cream" part of most recipes.  Head! Sand! Me!

ANYHOO (double-time)... Cooking Light's Asparagus and Chicken Carbonara!  I'll admit, I was skeptical.  I normally steer clear of high-cal recipes that have been reinvented as low-cal, healthy recipes.  Low fat mac-n-cheese? Um, no.  No, thank you.  I don't eat oxymorons. But this one had good reviews and was deemed "Worthy of a Special Occasion" so I gave it a spin.  It was a hit - even with Evs who is an uber-healthy eater and had to be told before he ever saw his plate that the stuff that looked like chunks of cheese was mostly egg whites.  It could definitely use more bacon... but I'll let that one slide since its Cooking LIGHT and not Cooking THAT WILL MAKE YOUR ASS BIGGER.

Asparagus & Chicken Carbonara*

*I increased a lot of the ingredients so we would have tons-o-leftovers for Evs to take to work.  I didn't increase the sauce measurements, which made this even less creamy and (I assume) lower calorie. The original measurements (found by following the link above) will make five servings... Mine makes about seven.

  • 10 oz of whole wheat spaghetti (I actually used linguine) 
  • 1 lb of asparagus - cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 c. egg whites 
  • 1/2 c. evaporated fat-free milk
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine (or dry vermouth) ... I used really sexy boxed wine... that is only boxed because its environmentally friendly... not because its ghetto... I pinky-swear. 

  • Meat from 1 rotisserie chicken (I used mostly white meat) - shredded  {Aside: I'd like to take this opportunity to give thanks for rotisserie chicken.  Whenever I cook with it, I totally get Brittany Murphey's Girl, Interrupted character's penchant for keeping them under her bed.  Maybe not the rotting-carcus-bit, but you know...}
  • 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan (ummmm or more)
  • 3 T. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 4 slices of bacon - crumbled (I'll go hog-wild next time and do 6 or 7)
  • Red chili flakes.  Because I couldn't make a recipe without them if my life depended on it. 
  • Salt & pepper to taste 
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, adding asparagus 2 minutes prior to finish time. Drain in a colander, reserving 1/3 c. of cooking liquid. Set pasta and asparagus aside. 
  • Combine reserved cooking liquid with egg whites and evaporated milk.  Whisk madly without reservations
  • Heat olive oil and saute onion (medium-high heat) for about 2 minutes.  Add wine (or vermouth), cooking for another 1 minute.  Add pasta and asparagus - and toss to combine. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the milk/egg/water mixture.  Toss.  Add chicken, bacon, and cheese.  Toss again.  With enthusiasm.  
  • Place pan over medium heat.  Cook for about 4 minutes or until sauce thickens and hugs the pasta like a Stage Five Clinger. 
  • Remove from heat. Stir in salt, pepper, and red chili flakes.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.  In the nude, if you dare. 


  1. "I don't eat oxymorons." Ummmm yes. If I want mac & cheese, I'm eating mac & cheese! Low-cal versions never leave me satisfied (that's what she said... if I can't make BJ jokes, you've gotta give me something... that's also what she said) and I end up splurging later on anyway. Give into temptation, that's what I always say.

    We made my grandpa's spaghetti carbonara way back when and it was delicious! Also super easy (unless you are my pasta-challenged hubs).

  2. "I don't eat oxymorons." That is excellent diet advice! Love it!

  3. I think the same thing when I see rotisserie chickens. Oh and by the way, this looks delicious!

  4. so excited to try this, I have had it minmized on my screen for 3 days, definitely going to make tonight, and YES, i sing the praises of rotisserie chicken on a weekly basis!! So glad I found your blog!

  5. "i don't eat oxymorons" is probably the best quote of 2009 and 2010. For seriously.

  6. Yum- that looks delish. I'm glad the white wine subbed well. I want to hear more about Ev's super healthy eating- is that why he does not like pot pie? Hubs is disgusting on the eating front.

  7. I make Ruth Reichl's carbonara from 'Garlic and Sapphires' ... no cream at all, just egg.

    You know I'm on the no oxymoron eating train, too. Some days when I'm feeling bithcy I imagining running through the inner aisles of supermarkets and burning all "food" in boxes with the words "diet" or "light" on them. So nonsensical to healthy eating, those things.

  8. Yum! I am going to have to try that recipe. I just had a shrimp pasta dish this week that was delish (although, considering the amount of heavy cream in the sauce, I KNOW that wasn't low cal).

  9. Yes I agree.....
    "I don't eat oxymorons will go down in Kate quote history!"

    Keep writing!

  10. Looks amazing! Random comment here but was wondering if you had suggestions on where to go and stay in Thailand (specifically Chaing Mai) as we are honeymooning there in August and would love any advice. I looked through "The Vault" but couldn't find a recap...thanks!

  11. Oh my. I've been reading for a while now and was going to delurk yesterday with regards to your manchego-rioja-sevilla-que-maravilla comments, with which I am in TOTAL AGREEMENT as I also lived in Sevilla (a year -- 2001 to 2002), but I never got around to it...and then you mentioned this mysterious Italian place and I have to it SAN MARCO???!! Because if so, holy lawsie...the world just got a lot smallah!


  12. LMAO I have never read a more entertaining recipe. I don't eat oxymorons!

  13. I couldn't agree more. Some things can not be low fat. I love carbanara too. My grandmother is italian and that is one of her specialties. Although we always make it with pancetta or bacon, which is so wonderful.

  14. i reeeeally want to make this.

  15. that looks so yummy! my hubs would totally go for this too! and yah for healthy!

  16. just bookmarked this page!! This recipe is amazing and I love spaghetti carbanara!

  17. You get cuter all the time. Don't go back to work as a lawyer. Write for the Food Network. Too funny. And did I say cute?

  18. OoooOoooooh ... that looks delicious! I love asparagus in pasta. (Also, I always want to spell that with an 'o', like, asparagoose. Weird.)

  19. I've never tried carbonara because I was under the (misguided) illusion that it was in fact a white sauce. And I don't eat white sauces. Ever.So, thank you for educating me on this and I will be making this recipe.

    Secondly, shouldn't every recipe make red chili flakes mandatory? Or is that just me?!

    and finally... I don't eat oxymorons will now be my "diet" catch phrase of 2010 (all credit will be directed to you, of course)


happy little comments!