This recipe is one I’ve had on my blog for over eight years so I recently decided that it needed updating. I do not make this pasta dish often, but I do like to make it in the spring when asparagus is inexpensive and the spears are thin and tender. I enjoyed this tasty pasta dish when we were dining out for lunch in Italy many years ago, and as soon as I tasted it I knew I had to make it myself at home.
My entire family enjoys a nice bowl of Pasta Carbonara from time to time, but I’ve only made it with the traditional ingredients of pancetta, eggs, and Parmesan cheese. This version adds blanched chopped asparagus, and substitutes grated Pecorino Romano cheese for the Parmesan. Pecorino has a much bolder flavor than Parmesan which works very well in this dish. I prefer using guanciale (cured pork cheeks) to pancetta, but if you cannot get hold of guanciale, pancetta works just fine. I like to use any long, dry pasta for my carbonara, but you can use any pasta you prefer.
- 1/2 Pound Fresh Asparagus Spears
- 6 Ounces Diced Guanciale or Pancetta
- 2 Whole Large Eggs
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 1 Teaspoon Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- 1/3 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 1 Pound Pasta of Choice
- Additional Grated Pecorino Cheese
- Trim the asparagus, and cut into 2 inch pieces, cutting any thicker pieces in half lengthwise.
- Blanch the asparagus in boiling water until tender crisp, then drop into a bowl of ice water.
- In a frying pan, cook the guanciale or pancetta until crisp and brown. Remove the meat from the pan, reserving the fat in the pan.
- In a bowl, beat together the eggs, yolks, grated cheese, and pepper.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until it is "al dente", then drain, reserving a cup of pasta water, and return pasta to the pot.
- Add the guanciale and asparagus to the pasta and cook over high heat for one minute.
- Add the egg mixture to the frying pan, then add half a cup of the pasta water, whisking continuously so the eggs do not curdle.
- Add the egg mixture to the pasta pot, and stir continuously until the sauce completely coats the pasta.
- Serve in individual bowls, offering extra grated Pecorino cheese at the table.