Monday, March 9, 2009

Dinner this Weekend - Pasta Carbonara

One of our favorite meals is called Pasta Carbonara. We had it this past weekend. It's really not a Carbonara, I guess, since it doesn't have eggs in it (I've seen other "Carbonara" dishes and they've all had eggs in them). But, it is one fine and tasty recipe my friend Jennifer gave me several years ago. She also called it Sausage Spaghetti, but I think that makes it sound too much like normal spaghetti.

Okay, here's the recipe:

Take one pound bulk breakfast sausage and brown with 5 to 7 pieces of bacon that you've diced. You can also use bulk Italian Sausage, too, and if you do, you can leave out the next step. See the stuff on the wooden spoon? When I use regular sausage, I put in about a scant teaspoon each of oregano and basil. Makes it more Italian-y. As that mixture is browning, add one minced clove of garlic and stir it in really well.

Whilst that is browning, boil some Angel Hair pasta.We use whole wheat pasta, 'cause that's how we roll. Or maybe it's so we won't roll so much. I don't even know what that means. Anyway, it's really good and good for you, too. I usually use about 12 ounces, but I don't have a set amount, just use as much as you want to. How's that for precise measuring?

When you put your water on to boil, throw some salt in the water so that you have already salted your pasta and you won't have to salt the finished product. I think you consume less sodium that way, but how should I know? Man, I'm really sarcastic today, aren't I? Anyway, I think I use probably a tablespoon in my water. I know that sounds like a lot, but remember, this the water we're salting, not the pasta itself.

Back to the task at hand. While your meat is browning and your pasta is boiling, go ahead and grate some Parmesan cheese. DO NOT USE POWDER. Come on, people, get the real stuff! It tastes SO much better than the round box stuff.

This is me grating cheese in my beloved Pampered Chef cheese grater. Only, the handle is broken so I'm having to hold it funny. And hold it I will until I can afford another Pampered Chef cheese grater. It's that good. Okay...grate about a cup.

Then open up one of these.

After your pasta is cooked, your meat is no longer pink, your cheese is grated and your can is opened (Wait...what?), you're ready to assemble. Drain your pasta and dump the drained pasta into your meat mixture, followed by your cheese...

...and evaporated milk. Now just let it simmer, stirring it all really well to get it all mixed in. Simmer and stir until the liquid is reduced and the mixture is almost creamy...about 5 minutes or so. Don't over cook it or it will not be creamy, it will be sort of sticky. Still delicious, but not as nice a presentation.

And here you go. Finished product. I don't think I can convey how good this stuff is. My Kiddo regularly asks for it, and that's saying something. I mean, he's not a picky eater, but he'd rather request McDonald's than something I make. So I know something's a hit when he asks for it.

Here's the recipe fo' realz.

1 lb. bulk sausage, either breakfast or Italian

1 tsp each basil, oregano (if using regular breakfast sausage...if using Italian, omit)

5 to 7 pieces bacon, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

Angel hair pasta (amount depends on you)

salt for pasta (amount depends on how much you want)

In a skillet brown sausage with bacon, spices, and garlic until sausage and bacon are no longer pink. If there is a lot of grease after you're done browning, drain some off. Leave enough to just barely coat the bottom of the skillet. While the meat is browning, boil pasta, adding salt before boiling. Drain boiled pasta. Combine meat mixture, pasta, cheese, and evaporated milk and mix well. Simmer until liquid is reduced and mixture is creamy, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring well.

That's it! It's super, super easy, fast, and delicious to boot.

And if you're wondering how much it costs, here's what I spent:

Turkey sausage from Wal-Mart: $1.36

Bacon: partial package of turkey bacon from Aldi (I used the other part in another recipe): $.63

Garlic: on hand

Spices: on hand

Parmesan Cheese from Wal-Mart: about $2.00 (I'm using the rest of the package for another recipe)

Evaporated milk from Aldi: about $.75? I'm guessing because I bought it a while back and can't remember exactly how much.

Angel Hair from Wal-mart: $1.26

So, total: around $6.00 give or take a couple of pennies. For about 8 to 10 servings, depending on how much pasta you use. So, I guess that works out to be about .60 to .75 a serving? Wow. Even I didn't realize it was so economicable. I just made that word up.

I hope you enjoy it!


Beth said...

My husband & I can't wait to try this. We use to make something like this, but with shrimp instead of sausage. We always had trouble getting it creamy enough. Now we know the secret. We also added peas & mushrooms, but only if we can get them past the kiddos;) Thanks for the recipe.

Kat said...

Look at you and your healthy self. Whole wheat pasta. Turkey sausage.
Fo' realz!

Anonymous said...

This sounds yummy - I'll give it a try! Love what you said about your pampered chef cheese grater - my 11 year old would hear the title of this recipe and say, "Can we make some, mom?"

Tiffany said...

I am a big fan of almost anything with bacon. YUM!

Darlene said...

Oh YUM!!! That looks and sounds DELICIOUS!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe.♥

Shannon said...

That sounds really good!

"Intentionally Katie" said...

Oooh - I'm bookmarking this! It looks fabulous.

Windy said...

We are definitely having this next week (since I have already planned this weeks meals)!
Looks soooo yummy:)

Rena said...

I linked here from The Grocery Cart Challenge. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I'm definitely going to try this soon.