I’ve been doing the low carb/no sugar thing for almost 8 months now – you can read about why I’m cutting down on my previous faves here and here – and while I really don’t miss the carbs as much as I thought I would, one thing I do miss is a good carbonara.
I’ve seen recipes floating about that use courgette (aka zucchini to my US/Aussie readers) ribbons as the ‘pasta’ and I had been meaning to give it a whirl. This week the planets aligned and I had all the ingredients in the fridge and a night eating without Bird. He is very sceptical of anything that pretends to be something else, like fake bacon or fake cheese.
I also had some celeriac staring at me, pleading with me not to be made into yet another celeriac remoulade, so I thought I would add it to the mix. I’m glad I did as it added another dimension and was a little firmer than the courgette which I liked.
I can honestly say the final result was delicious. I don’t know if it’s because it has been a long time since I had a carbonara, or if it was actually great, but either way I ate the lot and the kids didn’t put forward any complaints either. So I give you…
Courgette & Celeriac ‘Pasta’ Carbonara
Serves 2 (or 1 grown up plus 2 littlies)
From start to finish in 20 minutes max
2 medium courgettes
Half a celeriac
1 tbsp olive oil
Squeeze of lemon
1 clove garlic
100g diced pancetta
100ml creme fraiche
150ml double cream
Large handful flat leaf parsley
3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
Pop a big pan of salted water on to boil.
Using a veg peeler, peel the courgette and celeriac into long ribbons and place in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon to stop them discolouring.
In a small bowl whisk together the cream, creme fraiche, half the cheese and the egg. Season generously and set aside.
Heat the olive oil and fry the pancetta until it’s beginning to colour. Add the crushed clove of garlic and cook for around a minute until it is just starting to turn golden. Take the pancetta and garlic off the heat to cool down for a minute.
Meanwhile, when the water has come to a boil add the courgette and celeriac to cook for 3 minutes. Be careful not to cook it longer as you want it to have the al dente ‘bite’ of pasta. Reserve a little of the cooking water before you drain.
While the veg is cooking add the cream mixture to the pancetta and garlic and return it to a low heat. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer for 2 minutes or so, just to heat through.
Drain the veg and add to the sauce, add the parsley and another good grind of black pepper and mix well. If it’s too dry add a little of the reserved water at a time to loosen the sauce.
Serve and devour immediately with the remaining cheese as a garnish.