In the very early days of The Traveling Spoon, I went on a virtual journey in search of my culinary ancestry. I told you of my love for Czech dumplings and my passion for German pastries - and I love these things, I really do, but one of the best things about traveling the world is that I've had the chance to taste all kinds of regional cuisines. I've eaten curried goat in Uganda, sampled schnitzel in Bavaria, and drunk the local wine in Spain. No matter where I go, I always find a new dish to love - and one of my Italian favorites is carbonara.
|Okay, so it may not win any beauty prizes, but just let your tastebuds be the judge!|
Since I don't typically eat a lot of pasta, I've always treated the dish as a rare treat - until now. By substituting spaghetti squash for the usual pasta, I've transformed the dish from a somewhat guilty pleasure into a meal fit for everyday. So often I find myself sharing new or unusual recipes on the blog and forgetting all about my old favorites. I'm working on changing that and this recipe is a good start - it's such a favorite that I've actually eaten it three times in the past couple of weeks!
I'll be the first to admit that my version isn't very authentic - I don't add oil, butter, or parmesan, and I like to throw in some sautéed mushrooms for a bit of healthy flavor - but it is extraordinarily delicious and so, so easy. If you follow my simple, microwave method for cooking your squash, you can make this meal in under 20 minutes. Cook your squash beforehand (I usually cook both halves at once and just refrigerate the extra squash for up to 5 days) and you can have it on the table in 10 minutes. It really doesn't get much better than that!
Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
1/2 large spaghetti squash (about 3 cups), cooked - easy microwave cooking instructions here!
4-6 strips bacon or turkey bacon
4-6 large mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste (I often add this to the egg before cooking)
In a medium frying pan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to a plate and crumble when cooled. Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms and garlic in the same frying pan, using the fat from the bacon (you may wish to remove some of the fat before cooking if your bacon is very fatty). Sauté over medium heat until the garlic is golden and fragrant, and the mushrooms are lightly browned. Add the cooked spaghetti squash to the pan and cook until heated through. Remove the pan from the burner and stir in the beaten egg (it's important to stir the egg in immediately so that the heat from the spaghetti squash will cook the egg). Stir until the egg just becomes opaque and starts to stick to the spaghetti squash 'noodles'. Serve hot with a light dusting of parmesan cheese.
A few notes: For a regular version, just sub in whole wheat pasta, cooked al dente, for the spaghetti squash. On a low-carb note, I've also made this with shirataki noodles and it's excellent. This really is a gorgeous little gem of a recipe!
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