This was a random successful experiment that somehow worked out.
- 2 eggplant (cut into thick slices, salted, and placed between paper towels for at least an hour)
- 2 zucchini
- 1 package orzo
- 1 cup or more canned artichokes
- Handful of Costco meatballs (or other frozen meatballs of your choice)
- 1+ jar of tomato sauce (I like White Linen brand)
- Mozzarella and parmesan to taste
- Garlic powder
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut up the zucchini into slices and eggplant into cubes, toss with olive oil, and spread out on a pan. Salt or garlic powder can be sprinkled on as well, at this point if desired. Bake for half an hour or until well-roasted. Set oven to 350.
- Cook pasta according to package directions (al dente) and drain.
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add oil, then meatballs and artichokes until everything is warmed. Add pasta sauce and pasta and stir, then turn off the heat and add the zucchini and eggplant and a handful of mozzarella/parmesan. Stir until well-combined.
- Put cheese on top to taste and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, remove the lid, and cook for another 15 or 20 minutes. Remove, allow to cool, and serve.
This is a recipe that does not photograph well. I’ve tried dozens of times and it always looks terrible. However anyone who’s ever eaten spaghetti carbonara will tell you it is delicious, quick, and will appeal to almost anyone. I eat it the night before most races because it tends to sit well for me. And I REALLY love mushrooms.
6 or more thick cut slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cloves of garlic, minced very finely
1 box of mushrooms, sliced (I prefer baby bellas, but buttons work too)
1/2 tsp salt
1 to 2 tbsp milk
1 and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 box of spaghetti, cooked al dente
- Cook spaghetti in lightly salted water according to package directions until it is al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium/large bowl, stir together milk, eggs, salt, and cheese until well combined. Add more milk if needed to ensure all the cheese is combined with the eggs. You can also add a little sour cream or plain yogurt if you like your carbonara to be creamier.
- Using a large dutch oven heated to medium high heat, cook the bacon until desired crispiness. Remove the bacon and place on a paper towel, leaving the bacon grease in the pan.
- Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and cook them in the bacon grease. It may be necessary to add olive oil (or more bacon grease from your jar o’ bacon grease) to keep the mushrooms from sticking. Cook them until they are giving off their juices.
- Lower the heat to medium low and add the garlic, and stir with mushrooms for about 2 minutes. DO NOT LET THE GARLIC BURN. It may be necessary (depending on your stove) to take your dutch oven off the heat for a minute to let it cool before you add the garlic. If in doubt, let it cool more than you think it needs to before adding your garlic.
- Once the garlic is cooked, add your spaghetti to the dutch oven and stir until incorporated.
- Slowly increase heat to medium and pour cheese/egg/milk mixture over the top. Stir continuously until well-combined, and continue stirring for between 4 and 10 minutes, depending on your stove and how thoroughly cook you want the egg mixture. Some people really like a creamy carbonara (aim for less time) while I prefer mine a bit “dry” with little eggy bits in it (more time). Add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve topped with more Parmesan.
Once you cook this dish once, you’ll have a better idea of how you prefer it. No matter how it comes out it is delicious, and it all comes down to your preferred customization methods. (I SWEAR I WILL GET A GOOD PHOTO SOME DAY.)