(f)ood – Paleo Pen Pal part III

21 01 2013

Want to know about Paleo Pen Pals?  Check out my posts here and here.  For this third recipe, I wanted to try to recreate a wonderful recipe from a tiny little Italian restaurant in Clermont-Ferrand, France.  When we lived in France, we loved the Pasta Carbonara there.  It took forever to get to the table, but was always worth the wait.

Pasta Carbonara Primal Style

4 thick slices country smoked bacon

2 large zucchini

1 small onion finely diced

2 cloves garlic minced

2 pastured egg yolks beaten

1/4 cup pine nuts

salt and pepper to taste

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Cut bacon strips into matchstick sized lardons.  Saute in skillet until crispy.  Toast the pine nuts in another skillet.  Watch them carefully as they go from brown to black very quickly!  Remove the pine nuts from the pan and allow to cool.  Give them a quick whir in the food processor.  Not too long or you will end up with pine nut meal.

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While the bacon is cooking, use a julienne peeler to make “noodles” from the zucchini.  If you do not have a julienne peeler, use a regular peeler.  You will get slightly wider ribbons which will still work great!  Lightly salt the zucchini to draw out the moisture.

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After removing the bacon to drain, add the onion and garlic to the same pan.  If there is a lot of fat, remove a bit until there is about 2 T left in the skillet.  Saute the onion and garlic until it begins to brown.  Remove from the pan.

Squeeze the residual moisture from the zucchini and add to skillet.  Turn the heat up to high to flash saute the zucchini.  You do not want to cook until mushy, just get it hot and maybe a little crispy quickly.

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Remove the zucchini from the pan and immediately into a larger bowl.  Quickly drizzle the egg yolks over the zucchini while stirring the zucchini in the bowl.  Tricky process, I learned, to do this well!  The purpose is to allow the egg yolks to coat the strands of zucchini with their creamy goodness without becoming scrambled eggs.  I’d give myself a 5 out of 10 on this step!

Once the egg yolks have been incorporated, top with bacon, onions and garlic, and then the pine nuts.

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It sure wasn’t pretty, but the taste was really, really good.

If you eat/tolerate cheese, by all means use a good quality parmesan or pecorino romano.  I wanted to keep this strictly paleo, so I used pine nuts to try to replicate the deep, nutty taste of the cheese.  It was a great substitute, but the cheese would definitely add to this dish.

I also think I’d try the separated strands of spaghetti squash next time.  They don’t seem to have as much moisture as “zoodles” do.  Maybe I’d have better luck with that egg step!  If you do use zucchini, add at least one more.  Squeezing out the moisture in the zucchini and sauteing it significantly reduced the volume of zoodles.

Overall, I’d say this is a keeper recipe that I will continue to tweak each time I give it a go.  Thanks again Liz, for the bacon.  I will be sad to see it go!

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