Spaghetti with Asparagus, Scallions and Bacon

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Scallions and Bacon
Few things are as comforting as a plate of spaghetti carbonara, but the rich bacon-and-egg sauce can be too indulgent for a weeknight supper. This vivid interpretation lightens and brightens things up by eliminating the raw egg, cutting back on the bacon, skipping the cream, and adding plenty of fresh asparagus and scallions. It’s like springtime in a bowl with just the right amount of smoky bacon flavor to recall the original and satisfy any appetite. A hint of lemon zest and a handful of fresh parsley complete the picture. Serve a simple tossed salad and/or a loaf of garlic bread to round out the meal.
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces (scant 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1¼ to 1½ pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • ½ cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the oil and bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook until almost crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the scallions (leaving the bacon and fat in the pan), and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown in spots, about 4 more minutes. Add the white wine and bring to a boil, scraping with a wooden spoon to dislodge any caramelized bits. Simmer for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and set aside in a warm place
  3. When the water boils, drop in the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer the asparagus with a slotted spoon to a colander to drain. Rinse with cold water and set aside to drain.
  4. Return the water to a rapid boil and add the pasta. Boil until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving about ½ cup of pasta cooking water. Heat the bacon and wine mixture over medium-high heat. Add the drained pasta, the asparagus, and a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water. Toss to combine. If the pasta seems dry, add a bit more pasta cooking water. Add the parsley, lemon zest, cheese and a generous amount of black pepper, and toss well. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve in warm pasta bowls, topping each with additional freshly ground black pepper and parmesan, as desired.


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