I feel like for most of us the words "healthy" and "light" really mean "boring" or "tasteless". Whenever I eat diet foods that are supposed to taste like their fully loaded counterparts, they usually tend to be more reminiscent of cardboard than lighter versions of the original.
I recently told my husband I was going to work on a recipe for a healthy carbonara, and he understandably snickered. After all, if you're going to eat something called carbonara, it better well taste like three darn good things_ Parmesan, bacon and pasta -- and "light" is not an adjective I'd use to describe any of those foods! So instead of substituting ingredients, I simply use less of the offending ones (except cream, that one doesn't make the cut here). I also like to use a combination of eggs and pasta water to help retain the lusciousness and creaminess of a classic carbonara.
On the day I was making this, my hubby came charging into the kitchen, having caught a whiff of the cooking bacon wafting through the house. However, as soon as he realized that this was my "carbonara light" experiment, he retreated, thinking it would taste terrible. After a bit of arm twisting, I succeeded in getting him to try it. Three bowls later, hubby asked that I please remove him from the kitchen before he ate the whole pot.
Which reminds me_ this dish serves six, but if you eat it all on your own, it's definitely no longer qualifies as light!
Lightened Up Spaghetti Carbonara (serves 6)
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1/2 pound turkey bacon, chopped
- 1 small Onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup reserved pasta water*
Preparation1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Place the pasta back into the cooking pot.
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil and cook the bacon for five minutes. Add the garlic and onions and saute until soft, about 3 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and cheese. Quickly (so it doesn\\'t curdle) mix the egg/cheese mixture into the cooked pasta. Then, mix in the bacon and onions and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water.*
4. Toss to coat well and serve immediately.
* The pasta will absorb some of the liquid as it sits, so if you won’t be serving it right away, add an additional 1/2 cup of warm pasta water just prior to serving.