Mmmmmmmm….. carbonara. How I have missed thee.
Carbonara was the very first dish I learned to make – the one dish, according to my mother, that one should always have in her back pocket to be broken out at a moment’s notice.
Short notice dinner guests and no time to make some sort of roast beast? Carbonara. Need a quick (but better than pizza and beer) way to say ‘thank you’ to the house full of dudes that just helped you move? Carbonara. Want to impress a boy? Carbonara. The in-laws? Carbonara.
Needless to say, this dish was an absolute favorite growing up and made appearances at my house often.
“My” version has changed over the years – first with fresh ingredients (no more shakey parmesan for me!), then to include veggies (peas, asparagus and spinach are all fantastic), then fresh pasta (to die for), and now a primal version. Not full paleo – I still love a touch of a nice salty cheese (sheep in my case) – but close.
If you’re squicked out by the raw egg, I’ll tell you what my mother told me over arched eyebrow when I first heard that IwoulddieifIateraweggsandtheworldwouldexplode: You’ll be fine. Rocky didn’t die when he ate all those raw eggs, now did he? You’re much less likely to expire from salmonella than getting hit by a bus.
Gluten-free, primal, paleo-ish
Primal Chicken Carbonara
1 spaghetti squash
4 pieces bacon
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 cloves garlic
1/4 c. flat Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. pecorino, romano or parmesan (I used sheep)
Green olives (pimento stuffed is best)
First, prep and cook your squash to make “noodles”. To prepare, lop off the ends of the squash so it can rest stably on a cutting board. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seed guts.
Place cut side down in a shallow dish or bowl, add a few Tablespoons of water, cover, and microwave on High for 14 minutes or until soft. Pull from the microwave and let cool.
Next, crisp your bacon in your largest skillet over medium heat.
Cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces and chop the garlic.
When crisp, remove the bacon to paper towels to drain.
Add the chicken and garlic to the bacon fat in the pan and hit with a big pinch Kosher salt and couple grinds black pepper. Sauté until cooked through.
While the chicken is working, halve your olives (the quantity varies – I love olives and will happily eat half a cup in mine; my husband doesn’t like them at all and wants nothing to do with them), chop the parsley, and scrape the spaghetti squash out with a fork to form noodles.
Lightly beat your egg.
When the chicken is cooked through, add the spaghetti squash “noodles” to the pan along with the parsley, cheese, and crumbled bacon. Toss to combine.
If everyone in your party loves olives, add them; if not, add them to the individual bowls.
Remove from the heat and make a well in the middle of the noodles. Add the beaten egg and toss quickly to coat everything – make sure to work quickly to combine and that your pan is off the heat, you don’t want scrambled eggs.
Divvy up and serve.
Serves 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch