May 2018 - Farmhouse Favorites

Spring Vegetable Carbonara

Yield: 4-5 main course servings

Ingredients:

2-3 slices thick-cut smoked bacon (approx. ¼ lb.), diced

¾ c. heavy cream

1 whole egg

2 egg yolks

Cracked black pepper to taste

1 lb. penne pasta (or any favorite)

1 bunch (3/4 lb.) fresh asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1” pieces (cut thick stalks in half lengthwise for quicker cooking)

1 c. shelled fresh peas (or frozen)

1 ½ c. (about 1/3 lb.) grated sharp cheese (such as Asiago, Parmesan, or Romano)

1 bunch chopped fresh chives

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the bacon to a large skillet and cook over medium heat, rendering until it begins to crisp – approx. 10 minutes (thin-sliced bacon will cook quicker).  Pour off most of the fat and keep the bacon warm over low heat.  In a small bowl whisk together the heavy cream, whole egg and yolks, and ½ tsp. cracked black pepper.  Set this mixture aside.  Meanwhile drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente, adding the asparagus and peas to the pasta pot during the final 3 minutes of cooking.  Drain everything, reserving 1 ½ cups of the cooking liquid, and add the pasta and veggies to the hot skillet with the bacon.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg & cream mixture along with a ½ cup of the reserved cooking liquid to start, tossing everything very quickly so that the eggs cook from the heat of the pasta but do not curdle (timing is important here!).  Toss in 1 cup of the grated cheese and more black pepper to taste, along with additional pasta water as needed to create a shiny and silky sauce.  Gently toss in the chives and serve immediately sprinkled with extra cheese over the top.

Variations:

Other spring vegetables can be included in this recipe such as fiddleheads, ramps (wild leeks), sliced scallions, or baby spinach and greens.  Consider the cooking time….firmer vegetables such as fiddleheads should be pre-blanched for 5-7 minutes, whereas tender vegetables (scallions, greens, ramps) can be added to the pan toward the end of cooking. 

Skillet Berry Shortcake

Yield:  Approx. 8 servings

Fruit:

8 c. mixed berries (such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)

½ c. sugar

3 Tbl. cornstarch

Topping:

1/3 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 c. sugar

1 large egg

1 ¾ c. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ c. + 2 Tbl. whole milk, plus extra for the top

Ice Cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare the fruit, hulling and cutting large strawberries in half or leaving small berries whole.  Place strawberries in a large bowl along with other types of berries and add ½ cup sugar and the cornstarch.  Toss together gently until incorporated and pour this mixture evenly into a 12” round skillet (or shallow baking dish).   Using a mixer blend together the butter and 1/3 cup sugar until incorporated.  Add the egg and continue mixing on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and add this to the mixing bowl alternately with the milk -  blending just until dough comes together.  Pinch off pieces of dough about 1 Tbl. in size and drop them onto the berry mixture randomly, leaving little ‘windows’ to still see the berries below.  Lightly brush the top of the dough with milk and bake the shortcake for 35-40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and thickened and the biscuit topping is golden brown and center pieces no longer doughy (cheat by checking underneath one!).  Serve the shortcake warm or at room temperature with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.Variations:  Try this recipe with other fruits such as rhubarb, peaches, plums, apricots!

 


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