30 Minutes or Less: Shrimp Carbonara

There are few things I love more about winter than cream. Creme Fraiche, to be exact.

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While summer yields the yummyness of cold fresh cream with fresh fruit, winter is the time to double-down on all of the hearty, creamy dishes that my stomach just cannot handle when paired with an apartment that has no space for an air-conditioner (long story). And being that my food is made for a much smaller set of plates (like, uno), nothing holds up to small amounts and high heat quite like creme fraiche.

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What does creme fraiche have to do with carbonara, especially when purists consider adding anything other than Parmesan blasphemy?  Well, if you have ever tried to make a single serving of carbonara with just one egg yolk, you may be familiar with my struggle. One isn’t quite enough and two is a bit too much. Add a generous spoonful of the tangy all-purpose goodness of the fraiche? You just might have a bit of magic on your hands. Besides, I’m already breaking the rules with peas. Purists be darned. I do what I want.

Shrimp Carbonara (Click Here To Download)

Prep time: 15 minutes (or less)

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Servings:  One Generous Bowl

2 oz long pasta of choice, such as thin spaghetti or linguini (2 oz of long pasta is roughly about a ½-inch diameter bunch and yields around a cup, you can get away with a bit more for this recipe though)

1 tsp olive oil

2 slices bacon, chopped into cubes (I use pre-chopped pancetta, around 2 tbsp)

1 shallot, chopped

½ -1 tsp chopped garlic or a half clove, smashed

4 large shrimp, deveined and cut into three pieces each

1 large egg yolk (don’t know how to separate an egg? Here’s a tutorial)

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

1 tsp crème fraiche

¼ cup frozen peas

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsley, for garnish

In a medium-sized pot, bring 4 cups of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. While your water is coming to a boil, chop one shallot and bacon and set aside. In a ½ cup measuring cup, add egg yolk, parmesan and crème fraiche, whisk with a fork until creamy. Once water has come to a boil, turn heat down to medium, add pasta and cook until al-dente (1-2 minutes shy of package instructions).

While pasta is boiling, fry bacon in a 10-inch or larger skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add olive oil and shrimp, cook another two minutes or until shrimp is no longer pink. Add shallots and garlic and cook until shallots are translucent, another minute.

If you timed it right your pasta should be just done! Reserve one cup of the pasta water, then throw the peas in for the last minute and drain. Take ¼ of the pasta water and temper the egg mixture by slowly adding it in as you whisk with a fork (do not skip this step, you’re making a very small amount and the heat from the pan will scramble your egg). Remove pan from the heat, stir in pasta and a tiny splash of pasta water to deglaze. While continuing to stir, add egg mixture and ½ cup reserved pasta water (sauce will thicken as you stir). Add pepper to taste and salt if necessary. Garnish with more parmesan and parsley, and enjoy!

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