A “lightened up” carbonara pasta featuring crispy bacon and poached egg with a rich, gooey yolk. Plus fresh ingredients like shallot, asparagus and arugula.
There are a small handful of things in life I feel completely certain of, and one thing I know for sure:
There’s something about a cooked egg with a rich, gooey yolk that makes every single food on the planet taste ten times better.
I was reminded of this when Chris and I had the chance to eat out (baby-free! so I could concentrate on tasting my food instead of coming up with creative distractions to keep baby from throwing his food across the room!) at an Italian restaurant.
Chris offered me a taste of his carbonara pasta topped, of course, with just such a gooey egg yolk.
It tasted incredible. One of my favorite bites of food in months.
Six or seven bites later, I was planning to make my own version of carbonara-with-gooey-egg-yolk at home.
For my own “lightened-up-for-spring” version of carbonara, I left my favorite parts in:
- A bit of crispy, salty, smoky bacon.
- And that rich, savory egg yolk that creates the most scrumptious pasta “sauce.” Of course.
Then I added some fresh and healthy ingredients that are all tasty complements to the carbonara:
Shallot, crisp asparagus, and peppery arugula.
I left out a couple of things to keep the calories and fat at a lighter level:
Cheese: the bacon, egg, and asparagus add so much flavor, I didn’t think it was necessary.
Bacon fat: Chris’s restaurant version of carbonara was surely cooked in bacon fat. But for a lighter version I could make at home, I cooked the bacon on a baking sheet in the oven. And used extra virgin olive oil to cook the carbonara.
Poaching an egg.
It seems intimidating, but it’s surprisingly easy to do.
It takes just one “test” egg – that you may mess up and have to throw away – to get the perfect timing.
And it makes any dish look impressive and restaurant-worthy, aside from everything I’ve already mentioned about the amazing flavor.
Here are the tips that worked for me to get the poaching right:
- Make sure the pot of water is just at a light simmer. The egg will break apart if you’ve got a rolling boil going.
- Add a touch of vinegar to the pot to help hold the egg together. You won’t be able to taste the vinegar in the finished egg.
- Crack the egg into a one-cup measuring cup so you can gently place the egg into the simmering water, then let it cook, completely untouched.
- Have your cell phone timer ready to go so you can get the timing right. 3 minutes is what works for my stovetop. It will probably be somewhere between 3 and 4 minutes for you. So just use your first egg as a “test” to determine the right timing. At the end of 3 minutes and 30 seconds, scoop out the poached egg with a slotted spoon. If the egg white is not yet opaque and firm, add 45 seconds to the cook time for the next egg. If the yolk is solid instead of runny, subtract 45 seconds from the cook time for the next egg.
- After you have the timing right, you can cook two eggs at a time in the pot.
This carbonara pasta has enough crispy, smoking bacon and savory, gooey egg to make every single bite taste indulgent and rich.
And the crisp asparagus and peppery arugula are such fresh and delicious complements to those classic flavors!
Here’s the complete recipe for Asparagus Carbonara with Poached Egg:
- Serving size: 4
- Calories: 388
- Fat: 27.2g
- Saturated fat: 6.9g
- Carbohydrates: 17.7g
- Sugar: 2.8g
- Sodium: 724mg
- Fiber: 4.3g
- Protein: 21.1g
- Cholesterol: 195mg
Total Time: 40 minutes
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 6 strips uncured organic, pastured (grass-fed) bacon
- 6 ounces whole wheat spaghetti or linguine
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, diced
- 16 ounces asparagus, chopped, with ends removed and discarded
- 1 cup baby arugula, chopped
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 4 fresh, organic, pastured (grass-fed) eggs
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and arrange the bacon strips on the wire rack so that no two pieces are overlapping. Cook the bacon about 8-10 minutes, or until small bubbles form and the bacon begins to brown. Very carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven, taking care not to splatter any bacon grease. The bacon should continue to crisp a bit as it cools on the counter.
- Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook, according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the arugula, stir, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and turn off the heat. Add the cooked pasta and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir until well combined. Transfer pasta to serving plates.
- Crumble the cooked bacon over each plate of pasta.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, then reduce to a light simmer. Add the vinegar to the pot. Crack one egg into a one-cup measuring cup and lower into the simmering pot. Set a timer for 3 minutes and 30 seconds, and allow the egg to simmer untouched until the time is up. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the egg from the pot. If the egg white is not yet opaque and firm, add 30-45 seconds to the cook time for the next egg. If the yolk is solid instead of runny, subtract 30-45 seconds from the cook time for the next egg.
- Arrange a poached egg over each plate of pasta, and serve. Pierce each egg with a fork, to create a "sauce" with the egg yolk.
I estimate nutrition info by entering my recipes at Very Well.
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