So I’m going to make this post short, because I’m legitimately EXHAUSTED. I had a long, drawn out day of cleaning and cooking and chasing a particularly peevish eighteen month old with a six month old strapped to my body. The struggle was real today, folks, and I was soooo happy I decided to make this meal… especially once I finally, three hours or so later, had time to sit down and actually eat some! (Thanks, Aunt Pat, for showing up and saving the day, yet again!)
Being in NJ, I’m surrounded by Italian food that I, sadly, cannot enjoy. I’ve lately begun a crusade to change that, and for this reason, I created an enviable carbonara sauce accompanied by a coveted play on a garlic knot or Texas Toast.
Spaghetti Squash Carbonara Tossed with Baby Arugala and Served with a Garlic “Bread” Bun
Ingredients for the Spaghetti Squash Carbonara:
- 2 tbs bacon fat
- 4 slices prosciutto, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbs shallot, minced
- 3 c chicken stock (USE. REAL. STOCK. Again…. Do not even touch that store-bought broth. This is a reduction sauce at its core, and store bought broth is garbage. Start with garbage, end with garbage; simple as that.)
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh basil
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 oz cream cheese (so 3/4 of your typical Philadelphia Cream Cheese brick)
- 1 c grated parmesan
- 1/3 c heavy whipping cream (more if you need to loosen it up at the end, but it’s pretty unlikely, since the squash will release some water when it chills in the sauce for a few minutes at the end)
- 2 c baby arugala
- 6 c scraped spaghetti squash, cooked al-dente (find how to do this quickly in the microwave HERE)
Ingredients for the Garlic “Bread” Bun:
- 1-1/2 c super finely ground almond flour
- 1 tbs baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt (I didn’t remember to type this into the macros, so just know, you’ve got a few mg’s of sodium missing. On this diet, though, that’s probably a good thing.)
- 1/3 tsp cracked black peppercorns
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
- 1/3 c sour cream
- 4 tbs melted butter (or 3 tbs melted butter and 1 tbs roasted garlic olive oil, which was what I did)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/3 c parmesan, shredded (so the part of the box grater you’d use for cheddar. You want big old hunks of that yum in these nuggets.)
- 1/8 c parmesan, fine grated for sprinkling on top
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Carbonara: In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt bacon fat and toss in the prosciutto. Saute until the proscuitto starts crisping up into bits, chopping at them with the spoon (or whatever utensil you’ve selected) to break them up, then add in the shallot. Continue to saute about another 3 minutes until the shallot starts to become kinda translucent and golden around the edges, then add the garlic. Let that get fragrant, then add in the chicken stock. Toss in the herb sprigs and bay leaf, and allow it to come to a rolling boil and stir the caramelized stuff down from the edges into the stock as it reduces. While it does its thing, turn your attention to the garlic buns as follows.
- Buns: Grease a cupcake pan. Set aside. In one mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, whisk together grated garlic, sour cream, eggs, and melted butter until very well combined and smooth. Dump over the dry mix and combine, then fold in the parmesan and parsley. Spoon equal parts into 12 cupcake tins (eyeball this, but I’d say about 2 tbs-ish each. They should cover the bottom of the tin but only come up maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the way up the sides.), then sprinkle with a tiny bit of the finely grated parmesan. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes until golden. Use a butter knife to loosen the edges before you take them (CAREFULLY) out to cool on a wire rack.
- Carbonara again: Once the stock has reduced to about 1/2 c liquid and the bubbles forming are small and frothy looking, turn the heat to medium and stir in the parmesan cheese and the cream cheese. Try to stir these around as best you can to get the cream cheese especially softened up and integrated, but you’ll probably still have a few pesky little lumps. Whatever. Add the heavy cream and whisk those little lumps away.
- Carbonara still: Add the spaghetti squash and the arugala, mix to coat evenly, and let everything cook together over medium, stirring occasionally to keep things even. Once the sauce loosens up and everything is heated through all nice and toasty, take 1/6 of the contents in the pot, get it into your favorite pasta bowl, and serve yourself a little love with a side of garlic bun and a hefty sprinkling of more parmesan if desired.
Enjoy, and if you make this, post pics or it never happened!