09 November 2011

comfort worth an extra rep of sit-ups

I like to think that I'm one of those people that can eat whatever the heck they want and never gain a pound.  Unfortunately, I am not one of those people.  I have to bust my butt riding my bike and running and walking and doing thousands of sit-ups and push-ups every single day.  I have to dig deep into my being and use every last ounce of willpower that I have to eat only one cookie or a sliver of cake when I'm done taking photos and blogging about it.  It's taken me a long time to develop this kind of control over myself.  In the past, back when I had no self-control and was twice the size I am now, I could have sat and eaten an entire cake on my own, or three servings of saucy pasta, or a whole baguette slathered with butter.  Well, I could still do that now but at least I've learned to gorge in moderation and not go crazy every single day... but I still have my weaknesses.

this, is not what i look like.
Savory comfort food.  Yup, I'm a sucker for it; especially when this time of year rolls around.  I love to shuffle around the apartment all day in pjs and an old man cardigan and chunky socks while cooking up something super starchy and cheesy and salty and delicious.  That's what I did the other day (before we were hit by this sudden November heat wave.)  A pound of thick cut bacon, some tenderized chicken breasts, a mountain of freshly grated cheese, and a box of pasta later, I sat down to an amazingly comfy plate of spaghetti carbonara.  Had I thought things through beforehand, I would have cut the recipe in half so as not to make so much.  But I didn't.  Still, I managed to reign myself in and only eat one serving at a time like a responsible person.  Even that one serving made me feel just a teensy bit gluttonous though and I did a few extra crunches that night.  Then I thought to myself, 'there is no way in hell Giada ever eats spaghetti carbonara' and got really mad at her for shoving her damn creamy and cheesy recipe in my face (by shoving it in my face I really mean publishing it in her cookbook.  The cookbook that I had to dig around for and then flip through every page of in order to find this recipe since the pages were stuck together with spillage from the last time I attempted this recipe.  So maybe 'shoved in my face' is a little exaggerated.)  But come on now!  I bust my ass to stay fit and hardly ever gorge on things like carbonara sauce and I still don't look like Giada.  I'm calling her bluff!

So yeah, enough ranting - let's get down to business, recipe business.  Like I mentioned, I have attempted this recipe before but have always been met with a few issues.  Either I didn't have enough cheese or I only had regular skim milk instead of cream or, ugh I shiver recalling this, the eggs scrambled in the pan instead of coating the pasta in a creamy sauce.  That result was really gross.  But this time around I tweaked Ms. DeLaurentiis' recipe and made it my own.  After all, her recipe calls for six eggs - SIX EGGS!  I don't have six eggs to spare, I bake every weekend and my roomie loves frittatas; we're lucky if there's one egg in our fridge.  The changes I made amped up the awesomeness of this comfy Sunday supper recipe making it way better than the original... not that Giada would know because seriously, I know she doesn't eat that kind of stuff looking the way she does.  That's fine though, she can keep her super hot bod.  I'd rather do a thousand extra sit-ups if it means I get to eat spaghetti carbonara every once in awhile!

spaghetti carbonara
2 tbsp olive oil (if you have chili infused olive oil like I do, use that!)
1 lb thickly cut bacon, chopped (pancetta is better, but I had a freezer full of bacon)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, tenderized and diced
1 c frozen peas
3 large eggs, room temp
1/2 c heavy cream, room temp
1 1/2 c fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 crushed red pepper (or more if you like it extra spicy)
1 clove garlic, diced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
fresh ground salt & pepper to taste
1 lb spaghetti (or whichever pasta you like)
1. In a large skillet heat oil and garlic.  Cook bacon until crisp and add chicken allowing to cook thoroughly.  In a bowl, whisk together eggs, heavy cream and half the grated cheese.  Season with salt, parsley, pepper and crushed red pepper.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the pasta and cook until tender.  When nearly cooked to liking, add the peas to defrost and cook.  When you're ready, drain the pasta (but don't rinse it) reserving 1 c cooking liquid.
3. Add the water and pasta to the skillet with chicken and bacon.  Working quickly while everything is hot, toss the pasta and meats with the egg, cream and cheese mix.  Seriously, you need to move swiftly while everything is still hot so that the eggs don't scramble.  Add extra cheese and season with fresh ground salt and pepper to taste.  Indulge.

*** Just so we're clear, I really have nothing against Gianda (in case you're reading this, G.)  I actually totally, kind of dig you and your simple, satisfying takes on classic Italian cuisine.  If you ever wanted, I'd totally whip up a batch of my carbonara for us.  We could sup together, dish about all things awesome and share secrets.  I could help you tweak a few recipes and you could give me some exercise tips!  Just in case Giada happens to come across my blog... ***


  1. for sure on the menu for upcoming Tuesday suppers with Maya

  2. My recipe is a little bit more low calorie so you won't feel so guilty eating it. Skip the cream all together and use only 1/2 to 3/4 cups of grated cheese. You don't miss the cream, it's absolutely delicious.