She’s kind of my Pasta Patronus. And I’d like to be just like her when I grow up:
One of her last Carbonara creations was a beautiful stomach-growl-inducing adaptation: Butternut Squash & Spinach Carbonara.
I didn’t have butternut squash – or the desire to put on pants and mascara to go get some (that’s my minimum to go in public) – but I did have sweet potatoes. I pulled out my favorite basic carbonara recipe, a few slices of bacon, and was on my way to what would quickly become a house-favorite carbonara.
It’s because there’s bacon. And diced sweet potatoes that are cooked in bacon drippings until nicely caramelized, and then tossed with hot pasta and wilted fresh spinach until a beautiful, peppery, creamy sauce forms from the bacon, eggs, and cheese.
Carbonara is really the closest thing I can get to meatless meal without the natives rebelling. Or complaining about “spinach again?” But with this one, everyone wins here.
Sweet Potato & Spinach Carbonara
Creamy, peppery carbonara with caramelized sweet potatoes and fresh spinach.
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/3-inch slices and then diced
- 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
- 8 oz pasta
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 oz finely grated Parmesan (about 1 3/4 cup), divided
- 3 eggs
- Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a saute pan over high heat and add the bacon, cooking until almost completely crisped.
- When the bacon has completely browned, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large bowl (big enough for mixing the entire recipe).
- Add the sweet potatoes and cook until nicely browned and fork-tender (but not mushy), about 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Add the black pepper and spinach, cover, and turn off the heat - let sit ~2 minutes, until the spinach has wilted.
- Mix the eggs and 1 1/2 cups cheese together with the bacon, stirring to mix well.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook per package directions. Set aside 1 cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta.
- Immediately add the hot pasta and a splash or two of the hot pasta water (~2 Tbsp at a time) to the bowl with the bacon mixture, while stirring/tossing vigorously to create a creamy sauce.
- Toss in the sweet potato mixture and additional splashes of pasta water if necessary to adjust sauce consistency (and if you add too much water, just let the pasta stand for a few minutes).
- Serve sprinkled with remaining cheese
Yields: 4 servings
Estimated time: 35 minutes