Bacon-less Chicken Carbonara

We’ve all had those nights where we’re just too lazy to cook. I was having one of those nights. I was also being a picky eater, refusing left overs or microwaving anything. My apartment mate from last year, Gustavo, also came home from a busy day of work. I needed something that would feed the both of us. Something delicious. So, I looked to carbonara.

Carbonara is typically a pasta dish thats made with an egg based sauce, bacon, cheese, and pasta. Its simple, versatile, and delicious. With chicken and mushrooms in the fridge, I was set on making a bacon-less version adopting the same ideas of carbonara.

Truth be told, carbonara actually doesn’t have a sauce that needs to be made separately. Instead, hot, drained pasta is added to onions, bacon, and some form of fat. Eggs, mixed with Parmesan is then added to the hot pasta off the heat and mixed very rapidly so that the eggs coat the pasta and are cooked by the residual heat. Easy. People always fear making scrambled eggs instead of a creamy pasta sauce, but with this basic principle, you’ll be on your way to tasty pasta in no time!

Too lazy to head to the store, I reached for onions, mushrooms and shredded rotisserie chicken. I had all the ingredients on hand, and from start to finish it only took me 30 minutes to finish everything. Including the time it took for me to take pictures in between each step.

I’ve also included one of my pasta making tips in this post – reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water. The starchy water is perfect for thinning out sauces. And if you accidentally over thin the sauce, the starch will thicken the sauce right back up with an extra minute on the stove!

Try this, trust me, you won’t regret it.

Bacon-less Chicken Carbonara

Makes : 4 servings or 2 hungry college students

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 lb pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan (use more or less to taste)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is boiling, chop onions and slice mushrooms
  2. Cook pasta over medium high heat until just before al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet. Fry onions and mushrooms together until onions are translucent, more if you prefer. I like my onions more caramelized so I left them on the stove for an extra minute. Reserve vegetables.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs with shredded parmesan until there are no clumps
  5. Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the pan and heat up the shredded chicken. When the chicken is thoroughly heated, add the vegetables and add the drained pasta. Cook for a minute until the pasta is pipping hot.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the egg mixture while tossing in the hot pan. Do not stop tossing and mixing until the pasta is thoroughly coated. Add the reserved pasta water to thin out as needed. I only needed a few Tbsp to thin it out.

As for the endearing prompt: Talk about the best prank you ever pulled. Reading this on the NaBloPoMo blog sent my mind racing back to the days in first or second grade. My grandparents used to hang out with a friend who had cancer. Their daughter, about 5 years older than me, was the coolest person ever back then. Together, we slowly scooped out the meat of grapes and filled them with ice cream in the middle of July. Today, my grandfather’s friend is no longer with us–but the memories of creamy grapes on a hot summer day will never fade away.

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