This is a story about dates, cooking,
and the parmesan-eating dog.
Once upon a time, I was a college student with very little culinary experience, and I decided to cook dinner for my boyfriend.
I chose pasta carbonara. For what reason, I do not know, other than the fact that it had bacon and pasta and cream and cheese and things that I knew Rahul and I would enjoy. But it also included eggs. Five of them, to be exact.
Why oh why did I decide to make this dish, I still cannot fathom, except for thinking it may impress Rahul. Why I think my little-to-none culinary skills would be impressive, I do not know. And a recipe with eggs made for two people who do not eat eggs?
So, the story goes that I was in the kitchen cooking and I had the container of shredded parmesan cheese on the edge of the counter. I turned for one moment, and as I looked back I saw Dollar nose deep in the container that had tumbled to the floor, his black nose dotted with white parmesan crumbs. The dollar was about 6 months old at this time, though he was big enough to stand on his back feet and access the kitchen counter.
Luckily I had already used what parmesan I needed for the recipe, but since then Dollar has always appeared in the kitchen anytime parmesan cheese is on the ingredient list.
The pasta carbonara did turn out delicious, and I’ll never forget it as the first meal I cooked for Rahul. Seven years later, I’ve finally come up with a pasta “carbonara” recipe that does not include eggs.
In a traditional pasta carbonara, eggs are used to thicken and really create the “creamy” sauce. Some recipes only call for eggs and parmesan, others call for eggs and heavy cream and chicken broth. All create a creamy sauce that is truly delectable. Eggs are whisked into the hot pasta to “cook,” before they are devoured.
Though I’ve never been a fan of eggs cooked this way. Since Rahul and I don’t eat eggs, we rarely have them around (only for baking, really). I don’t use eggs in my ice cream recipes because they’re prepared in a similar way – tossed into warm milk gently while you cross your fingers that they don’t curdle.
There HAD to be a recipe to make a similar sauce that didn’t require eggs.
Nobody said the solution had to be healthy, right?
Heavy cream and parmesan cheese, when heated together, create a delicious, creamy sauce that emulates a traditional pasta carbonara. You have no risk of eating uncooked eggs or worrying about them curdling if you take this route. You may even like it a little more than the egg version. Just sayin’…
Eggless Pasta “Carbonara”
- 8 slices of bacon
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 5 cloves roasted garlic
- 8 oz (1/2 a box) of pasta – I used
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/8 tps black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium high heat. Set aside cooked bacon and crumble it with your fingers.
- Turn the heat down to medium and cook the onion and garlic until soft. Turn off the heat.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Boil per directions on the package and drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
- Prepare the cream sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the flour and whisk for two minutes.
- Pour in the heavy cream, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Whisk in the parmesan cheese until all has melted, then pour in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss in the salt and pepper and set aside.
- Place the drained pasta back in the pot. Toss in the frozen peas, bacon crumbles, and the pasta sauce. Stir together thoroughly.
- Top with more shredded parmesan and chopped fresh parsley and enjoy!