Island Bites: Egg-cellent linguine carbonara

Island bites

About this time of year, I start itching for fresh ingredients.

I’m braised out, souped out and casseroled out. The garden isn’t ready to produce much, so I look elsewhere for something to liven up the plate.

Luckily on Shelter Island, you’re sure to find one ingredient that’s always fresh — eggs. I’ve screeched my car to a halt many times to buy a carton or two for sale from front yards across the island. And these eggs are the real deal. The rich yolks inside are the result of chickens that have been fed a natural and nutrient-dense diet, as opposed to their doomed factory-farmed brethren.

Linguine carbonara gets its name from the color of the coarse pepper grounds and is the perfect recipe for using Shelter Island’s delectable eggs. You might already have the other ingredients waiting in your refrigerator, making linguine carbonara an easy weeknight meal. The dish originated with spaghetti, but

I find linguine to be a more luscious choice. Carbonara can be made with other types of pasta as well.

To drink, why not consider an inky syrah or nebbiolo to offset the dish’s creaminess. Of course, a nice chardonnay works well, too. Don’t hesitate to email me at david@chefdavidlapham.com with any questions about this recipe or cooking in general. I’d love to hear from you!

Bon appetit!

Linguine Carbonara

Serves 4 | Cooking time: About 25 minutes

1/3 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into ½-inch strips

½ yellow onion, chopped

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 pound dry linguine

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon or more freshly ground black pepper (as coarse as possible)

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. At the same time and in a separate large saucepan, cook bacon over medium-low heat until crispy and most of the fat rendered (about 7 minutes). Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel. Add onions and garlic and cook in the bacon fat until translucent (another 7 minutes).

When water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes (confirm cooking time on the packaging). When pasta is ready, remove with tongs and add directly to the saucepan with onions, over medium heat, along with a ladle of the pasta water. Turn off the heat and add egg yolks, pepper, parsley and Parmesan cheese. Toss lightly to incorporate ingredients and serve with additional Parmesan (optional).

Photo credit: David Lapham