Easy “Carbonara”

A month ago, I shared with you a fake out Fish Tacos recipe.  I said it before and I’ll say it again, there are just days that taking shortcuts in the kitchen is necessary so that you can enjoy the night with your family.  This is my take on Carbonara.  Italians, cooks, and foodie purists are probably baffled that I call this recipe Carbonara, but like I said it’s a shortcut.  It’s Carbonara-esq.  Hope you enjoy it.

Little Black Apron’s Easy “Carbonara”

INGREDIENTS

1 pound linguine
1 bottle of alfredo sauce
3 slices of bacon, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

DIRECTIONS

Cook pasta according to directions.  Place bacon in a medium sized sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat.  Allow the the fat of the bacon to render.  Cook until the bacon is crispy, but not burnt.  With a slotted spoon, take the bacon out of the pan and place onto a dish lined with a paper towel.  Leave a tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan.  Carefully discard the rest.  Sweat the onions in the bacon fat.  When translucent, add the garlic for 30 seconds and then the peas for additional 30 seconds.  Add the alfredo sauce into the sauce pan and heat through.  Add the bacon to the pan before serving over pasta.  

Note:  A couple variations to this dish that I’ve done before is adding mushrooms after I’ve sweat the onions.  Also, I’ve added grilled chicken on top of the dish for more protein.

I do prefer authentic carbonara over this; however, when time isn’t on my side, this recipe is my quick fix.  And while carbonara isn’t difficult to make, it can be tricky sometimes since you’re cooking with so many eggs and you don’t want to scramble them.

Enjoy!

Presto Pesto…

Until I started watching Food Network more and more I thought pesto was your basic basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and cheese combo.  I didn’t realize that you could make anything pesto.  Spinach, arugula, red peppers, etc.  While in London I saw that one of the vendors at Burough Market, who was selling various dips and sauces, was selling Red Pesto, which I was super intrigued by.  It consisted of sun dried tomatoes, cashews, pecorino, etc.

After seeing this and coming home, I was inspired and decided that I was going to try to make it myself.  I’ve made Pioneer Woman’s Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce before and thought that the sundried recipe was somewhat similar.  Of course, I used what I had on hand.  Instead of pecorino I used Parmesan.  Instead of using cashews I used the pine nuts.  Remember that’s the key to budgeting and cooking, inspiration of recipes and using what you have on hand and making it your own.  🙂

I made this recipe during lent and yes, I’m only sharing this it now.  Instead of using regular pasta, I made it with Trader Joe’s tortellini.  I made this dish on a Friday and I wanted to put more carbs in our meal since we didn’t eat meat all day.  Feel free to make this with penne or fusili or any kind of pasta you’d like.  I definitely bumped it up a notched by adding some cherry/grape tomatoes and spinach.  I must say it was a success.  YUM!

TORTELLINI with RED PESTO

INGREDIENTS

1 package of Trader Joe’s refrigerated cheese Tortellini
1 jar of SunDried Tomatoes in Olive Oil
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
handful of basil leaves (you don’t want too many, as you’ll mask the tomato flavor)
Olive Oil
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, Halved
1/2 lb of spinach
Salt
Pepper

DIRECTIONS

Cook Tortellini according to package instructions.  Note:  If you’re using the refrigerated pack, this should take probably 5 minutes.  If you’re using dried it will take 10-15 minutes.

In a food processor, combined the sundried tomatoes with olive oil, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, basil leaves.  Start pulsing.  Let the food processor go and start streaming olive oil in until its a desired consistency.  Taste and add salt or pepper as needed.

Prior to draining off the tortellini, reserve a cup of pasta water.  Add the Tortellini back to the pot and pour in red pesto.  If too thick, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce a bit.  This also helps the pesto become more of a sauce consistency.  Add in spinach.  When the spinach is wilted, add cherry tomatoes.

Top with a little bit of parmesan cheese and serve with garlic bread.

Super easy and super delish!

easy peachy

Living in California and it being summer (okay almost fall), peaches, nectarines, and plums are in season.  I always get a couple during the weekly farmer’s market on Fridays.  While I love eating a nice juice peach, I wanted to try something different other than putting it in a salad or having a sandwich but something relatively easy.

I thought about making a peach cobbler but didn’t want to take the time waiting for a cobbler.  I came up with an aha moment!

Faux peach cobbler/crisp

1 peach, sliced
dash of cinammon
1/8 tsp of brown sugar or honey (whatever you’d like)
pinch of salt
pat of butter
granola (cereal type granola)

Put the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and toss.  Place the bowl in the oven for a minute and a half or until the peach is tender.  Top the peaches with granola and some ice cream if you’d like and devour.  DELISH!

I didn’t have any ice cream so I couldn’t eat this a la mode but I have had it a la mode before.  EVEN better.  Everything is better with ice cream.  🙂