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Posts Tagged ‘Lo-Cal’

I know I promised to keep my posts healthy, but sometimes you just need something rich and hearty.  Such was my desires the other day, so I modified, and tweaked a carbonara recipe.  I would like to say that this rustic, classic style carbonara is healthy, but seeing as the only real ingredients in the recipe are egg yolks, pancetta, cheese, and pasta, I think that would be a bit of a stretch. That being said, this recipe is low in calories. 🙂

This is likely to be unlike any carbonara you have ever had in an American-Italian restaurant; this recipe uses no cream.  I know, I can hear a collective gasp coming as you read that last sentence, but the truth is, this dish doesn’t need cream.  The perfect ratios and pairings of the ingredients, combined with the proper technique produce a delightfully rich, and flavorful carbonara without adding tons of oil and cream.  With these modifications, and the use of Dreamfields linguini (which only has 5 digestible carbs per serving), this dish (which serves 6) comes in at just under 400 calories per serving (if you choose to use real pasta, each serving is still only around 600 calories). So you want to hear the recipe?  All right, here we go…

Lo-Cal Chicken Linguini Carbonara

(adapted from Two Meatballs in the Italian Kitchen, Mark Strausman and Pino Luongo)

My mise for Chicken Linguini Carbonara

2 tbs salt

1/2 lb pancetta, cut to 1/4″ dice (Ghetto Chopper) does not have pancetta, so I substituted some really thick applewood smoked bacon, and it worked out fantastically)

1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced

2 c. chopped up roasted chicken breast

1 large egg

3 large egg yolks

1 package of Dreamfields Linguini

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesean

1 tbs ground black pepper

Bring enough water to cook a package of pasta to a boil, salt, reduce heat to low, and cover pot.

I can’t say this enough, but for this dish especially it is very important that you have all of your ingredients prepped before you begin.  This dish is all about timing, and execution, if you take too long during any number of steps you will ruin the dish.  So please, please, make a mise, and prep everything, have all the ingredients measured out and in bowls ready to go before you start.

That disclaimer being said, heat a large skillet over low heat and add the pancetta or bacon.  Cook stirring regularly to prevent sticking and scorching until the meat has given up all of its fat and is starting to take on color. At this point add in the onion and continue to cook until the onion is starting to take on some color and the bacon is almost crisp.  Add in the chicken and cook to heat through.

What your pancetta or bacon should look like when it has "released all of its fat" and is ready for the onion addition

Pancetta or bacon and onions ready for the chicken to be added

Meat and onion mixture ready to come off the heat

While you are cooking the meats and the onion crack your egg and 3 egg yolks into a stainless steel bowl, and get your arm ready, because you are gonna whisk those babies for 3-5 minutes or until the egg and yolks are pale and almost doubled in volume.

The egg and egg yolks sufficiently whipped to double the volume and achieve that pale yellow color

Now that your arm is likely dead, use the other arm to remove the meat and onions from the burner and crank up the heat under your water to bring it back to a rolling boil.  Add the pasta and cook to al dente.

Once the pasta is ready to be strained, scoop out 1/2 cup of the cooking water (in case your pasta looks dry later for a little juice), and strain pasta thoroughly but quickly (shake that colander up and down a few times with some force to get that water out in a hurry without the pasta setting up or cooling off).  Transfer the pasta to either a large stainless steel or a large glass mixing bowl (ceramic holds too much heat and will likely scramble your eggs instead of thickening them to that delicious saucy state), add in the meat and onion mixture, and the olive oil, and gently but thoroughly toss to distribute with tongs.

Gently but thoroughly, and with a sense of urgency, tossing the pasta...

Now here is where you have to work really fast… Add in the eggs and again, gently but thoroughly (and with a sense of urgency or you will get scrambled eggs) toss the pasta to coat.  If you pasta is looking too dry for you at this point add a little of that reserved cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing between additions.  Stir in the parmesan and the black pepper and you are ready to serve!

Lo-Cal Chicken Linguini Carbonara plated with some broccolini and a hunk of good bread!

And as always… Enjoy!

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