Carbonara Two Ways: Filotea Pasta vs. Veggie Noodles

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Trying to lighten-up your Summer menu?  Me, too! But it's not easy. There are certain things I just hate to give up. Top of that list: pasta!

A good friend -- also a pasta lover -- recently lost a good bit of weight and turned me on to a great way to get that satisfaction of saucy dish of pasta without all the post-meal carb guilt.  She insisted that it wasn't so much the pasta I craved, but more the sauce.  Her secret weapon?  Zoodles!

Gluten-lover, I am, didn't go for it at first. So, I decided to try a side by side with one of the most satisfying pasta dishes of all time, Pasta Carbonara.  Pork, eggs and cheese. That trio can make tofu taste good! This time, I prepared it two ways:  one with Kings Brand Artisan Pasta (Filotea, La Pasta Artigianale) Spaghetti alla Chitarra and the other with Kings Upper Montclair  spiralized butternut squash noodles.  

So, how'd it go?  The veggie noodles made a valiant and colorful showing, but, ultimately, I'll always opt for the pasta. The Artisan Spaghetti alla Chitarra.was exceptional. The color rich, it cooked up al dente with that nice "to the teeth" consistency.  This may well become my pantry pasta.  Arguably, a great carbonara is only as good as the eggs you use.  Poached, and placed in a nest atop the pasta or veggie noodles, the Kings cage-free extra-large eggs provided a creamy, mouth-coating satisfaction, and exhibited a deep golden yolk. 

As I mentioned above, the veggie noodle version lacks a certain...indulgence. But that's the point, I suppose. Can I get used to it? Probably.   If you opt for the zoodle variation, simply give a quick steam to the zoodles when poaching the egg.  Be mindful of how long you steam the veggie noodles. They can get limp very quickly.  

I've been using the recipe below for years. It calls for slab bacon, but I prefer to substitute thick-cut pancetta and use only flatleaf parsley. For an extra peppery kick, try baby arugula. So, pour some Kings Sparkling Mineral Water, and give it a try! 


Spaghetti alla Carbonara TWO Ways

from Gourmet, October 2009
serves 1

2 Bacon Slices, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 lb Filotea, La Pasta Artigianale
1/2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 to 2 Tablespoon chopped r parsley
1 large egg

Cook bacon in a 10- inch skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel.
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a 4 qt. saucepan of salted boiling water. Reserve 1/3 cup cooking water, then transfer pasta with tongs to a bowl, shaking off excess water. If you are making this dish for more people, you might opt to drain the pasta and use new water for your eggs. That’s fine too. But if you choose to take your pasta out with tongs, keep the water simmering, and add a touch of white vinegar to it.
Pour off all but 2 teaspoon bacon from skillet, then whisk butter into fat in skillet over medium heat. Add spaghetti, reserved cooking liquid, cheese, and a rounded 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and cook, stirring, until sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add bacon and parsley or tarragon and toss. Season with salt and pepper.
Break egg into cup and slide gently into water. Poach at a bare simmer for about 2 1/2 minutes.
Serve pasta topped with egg and extra cheese.

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