Beautiful Zucchini Carbonara

You can never go wrong with bacon.

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I decided to grow zucchini specifically for this recipe. It’s from Jamie At Home, the book that inspired me to garden. I’ve cooked it a number of times now and I’ve finally nailed it with my own zucchini. I should be able to make it many times this summer because that zucchini plant is damn prolific.

If you aren’t growing your own, look for small zucchini at farmer’s markets or grocery stores; they’re in season now so chances are good; only use big zucchini if you absolutely must. You want them to be between 3 and 4 inches long.

This meal is extraordinarily rich. The fat and carbs combo is deadly, so we only have it occasionally as a treat. It’s best eaten right away and it doesn’t keep long, so eat this with gusto the night of making it.

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 handfuls parmesan cheese grated
  • 6 yellow or green zucchini, about 3 – 4 inches in length
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 12 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 big pinches black pepper
  • a small bunch of thyme, leaves picked

If you time this right it’ll take as long as the water to boil and the pasta to cook. If you prep everything before you start the water boiling you should be good. Of course, I never follow that advice. It’s always a mad dash at the end to get everything done before the pasta is ready. Cooking is an adventure.

Put the water on to boil. Once it boils, add salt to the water to season the penne. Cook the pasta from the package instructions.

Heat a 4 Qt sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon, let it render.

While the bacon cooks, combine the egg yolks, cream and one of the handfuls of parmesan. Set aside.

Chop up your zucchini: cut into quarters, get rid of the fluffy bit in the middle and chop into pieces about the same size as the penne. Once the bacon is about half done, add the zucchini, thyme leaves and the big pinches of black pepper. Get the zucchini covered in the bacon fat. Cook until soft, about 6 minutes.

If you timed everything right, your pasta should be ready to drain now. Save a mug full of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and add to the sauté pan. Toss.

Take the pan off the heat. Here’s the key to this recipe: You don’t want to add the sauce right now; the eggs will scramble. Right after you take the pan off the heat, it will be sizzling like mad. Let it subside before adding the sauce. Depending on the wetness of the pasta, you may want to add some of the starchy cooking water back to make a shiny sauce. Add the remaining parmesan cheese.

Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Goes well with white wine and friends.

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Jason Kemp is a geek trapped in a cool guy's body. He hand crafts software for the web and mobile devices. He excels at user interface design, the deadlift and barbecue. He is @ageektrapped across the internet.

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