No, this is not my way of telling you that I’m with child again. But it is my way of telling you that I have a new favorite cookbook, and I surprised myself with this one: it’s Tyler Florence’s Dinner at My Place. I’m not one to jump on the Food Network chef bandwagon (except for Paula Deen, for whom I have erected a statue made of butter and mayonnaise in my backyard), but these recipes took me by storm.
Here’s what I love about Tyler Florence and his book:
1) He’s a family man. And he creates recipes that the whole gang can nosh on with equal delight.
2) The book ranges from the basic (fresh fried corn chips), to the unexpected (artichoke fritters with Meyer lemon salt), to the downright delightful (baked sweet potato and banana baby food).
3) He’s a little handsome. Just sayin.
But back to the pregnancy part of this whole pasta: Tyler created it while his wife was carrying their son to satisfy her craving for carbonara. It’s not a super traditional take on the dish, but it’s creamy, cheesy, and dotted with bits of crispy garlic and proscuitto.
I may have eaten two bowls of the stuff back to back. And when the time comes that I’m in the family way again, this recipe is sure to grace my table, and my growing waistline, on a regular basis.
To make it, you’ll need milk and cream, eggs, fresh baby spinach, sliced prosciutto (I subbed this for Tyler’s use of pancetta), garlic, and a hunk of parmigiana reggiano cheese (the good stuff—it really makes the dish). Tyler makes his own pasta for this dish, but I used packaged linguini.
Begin by thinly slicing the garlic and chopping the prosciutto.
Fry in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until the prosciutto is crispy and the garlic is aromatic.
Next, combine the eggs with the milk and cream in a glass bowl or in the top of a double boiler.
If you don’t have a double boiler (my ghetto kitchen lacks a quality one), place the glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. Beat with an immersion mixer for 7-10 minutes until the mixture thickens. I highly recommend having a glass of wine in your other hand during this step, if you’re not pregnant. It makes standing for an extended period of time over a hot stove all the more bearable.
Grate up some of that lovely cheese (my favorite graters unexpectedly came from Ikea because they both grate and store, and the design makes it less likely that I will grate my fingers in the process).
Dump in the cheese…
Grind in a little black pepper…
And pour the sauce over your cooked noodles of choice.
Top with a handful of the baby spinach, a bit of the prosciutto and garlic, and grate on a little additional cheese.
Does it get better than this?
I think not.
The sauce coats the noodles with a subtle creaminess, the spinach on top adds some color and texture (plus an iron boost for all those carrying a small basketball in their mid-sections), and the prosciutto and garlic provide irresistible bites of salty crunch.
Twirl it up, baby.
And remember how I said that Mr. Florence makes dishes that the whole family will enjoy?
The littlest member of my family was squeaking and squawking while I was photographing this stuff. So I sat her in the highchair, strapped a bib on her and let her go to town. She scarfed about half the bowl (along with some broccoli, so I wouldn’t feel so guilty about giving her a bowl of creamy noodles with prosciutto).
Knocked up or not, make this soon. Winner, winner, carbonara dinner.
Happy weekend and happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful, amazing, selfless moms out there! You ROCK!
- I used prosciutto instead of pancetta, but both are equally flavorful and cook in about the same amount of time.
- I did not make my own pasta, but if you’re up for it, Tyler includes his recipe for fresh pasta dough in the link above.
- I didn’t drizzle with olive oil to finish—I thought it was rich enough as-is.
- While making the sauce, Tyler recommends mixing with an immersion blender for about 7 minutes. I found it required about 10 minutes to come to desired thickness.
- If you’re using packaged noodles, use two 1 lb. boxes. Or you can use half the sauce and use the other half at another time.