Last weekend we went to dinner with my uncle at Olive Garden. Usually I love Olive Garden, but this meal was not so. My husband and I both ordered their Carbonara with chicken and shrimp. It was the blandest, most flavorless pasta I had ever eaten. It really left me craving an authentic style Italian Carbonara so I decided to make some here at home that was more similar to one of my favorite Italian restaurants from our old town. I added a bit of chopped chicken scallopini for some extra protein.
1/2 pound spaghetti
4 large slices pancetta, diced small (quality bacon works also)
1 egg + 2 yolks
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
- In a large pot, add the salt to the water and bring to a boil.
- Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.
- Reserve some cooking water and then drain it.
While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add bacon and sauté for around 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
- In a bowl, beat the egg and the yolks with pecorino cheese and a sprinkling of pepper.
- Add the drained spaghetti to the skillet with the pancetta and toss for a minute or so over medium heat.
- Transfer into the bowl with the eggs/pecorino mixture, stirring until the egg sauce thickens.
- Add some cooking water if the sauce is too thick or more cheese if it’s too liquid.
- Season with some fresh ground black pepper and a sprinkling of cheese.
- Serve immediately in a warmed bowl.
CHICKEN HORSERADISH MAC & CHEESE
8 ounces macaroni or campagnelle noodles, prepared according to package directions
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 large shallot, diced small + 2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 2 1/2 + 1 1/2
3 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 teaspoons DIJON mustard
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups small diced rotisserie chicken
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon creamy horseradish
1/3 cup Boar’s Head Horseradish Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup grated Gruyere Cheese
2 cups EXTRA sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Asiago Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian Parsley
1/3 cup finely crushed Keebler Club crackers
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons powdered Parmesan Cheese
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Lightly butter a 9×9 baking dish.
- In a large skillet brown bacon until crisp and crumbly.
- Remove bacon with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Add shallots and garlic to bacon drippings, sauteing until soft.
- Add the 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter.
- When butter is melted whisk in the flour making a roux.
- Whisk in the mustard.
- Whisk in creamy horseradish.
- Gradually and alternately add the milk and cream, whisking constantly.
- Add the salt, blending well.
- Bring to a SLOW rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Strain into a large mixing bowl and discard any solids.
- Add ALL cheeses quickly, stirring constantly until melted and a smooth consistency.
- Add in the cooked noodles, chicken pieces and 3/4 of bacon pieces stirring to coat.
- Fold the noodle mixture into the baking dish.
- Blend together 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter, powdered Parmesan Cheese and crackers.
- Sprinkle on top of noodles.
- Bake 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. During last 5 minutes top with remaining bacon pieces.
- Remove from oven, cover with foil and rest 10 minutes before serving.