Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Sick Day and a Crafty Carbonara

Sometimes I feel my body fighting. When it is fighting, I feel drained and frail and bone tired. Half this week my body has been fighting and yesterday was the Last Battle. Thankfully, I had a lighter work day that usual, and Nick took me for Indian food, and we watched Billy Elliot. And a little piece of me thought sadly of Halloween Parties, and the Rest of the World which seems (thanks to facebook) to be doing all sorts of wonderful things all of the time while I feel Left Out and Lonely.

Here we are. Last year in our sweet Salem as Cowboy and Brigitte Bardot which, or course, don't go together, but we never can decide on anything jointly. Anyway, I let out a small, sad complaint about our lack of Halloween party status, and my sore, fighting throat. Nick looked over at me and said, "I'd rather be right here with you than at any party anywhere." And I know he was  telling the truth. And I know that I should learn from his state of quiet contentedness.

I slept, completely dead to the world, for a solid ten hours last night. And I woke and discovered that my body had won and I wasn't sick or fighting anymore. Its nice to have someone working hard for you, which I'm pretty sure it does constantly since I spend every single day with a multitude of adorable, germ laden children. Whom I love despite their open mouthed coughing, hand to nose snot wiping habits. Because who wouldn't?

Before the Last Battle yesterday, and on Friday night, I made a special dish. As a child, I loved (too much. You should see the pictures of me) Spaghetti Carbonara. The creamy sauce, the bacon, the was my favorite dish to get at any Italian restaurant. Never mind the fact that it made my stomach hurt because if its heaviness. It was delicious.
   As a grown up, and someone that tries hard to eat well, I haven't had Carbonara in years. Sometimes I think of it, but I never eat it. Until Friday night, when thanks to some inspirational blog readings, I came across a recipe for a squash pasta dish, and my mind began working. Thus was born Crafty Carbonara.

Al dente spaghetti tossed in a creamy butternut squash puree flavored with thick cut bacon, sharp Parmesan, and farm grown shallots. It was amazing. It had neither heavy cream, nor eggs in it, but when Nick (who is a sharp judge of healthy versions of unhealthy things) tasted it, he first closed his eyes and sighed a deep and happy sigh, and then insisted that there were both cream and eggs in it-- there had to be. Negative. There isn't. So. Get ready. A guilt free comfort food that is easy as pie (which isn't easy at all so this is a silly statement) to make. 

Ingredients (serves 4-5)


1 butternut squash cut into cubes. (I got it precut from Natures Way, our local grocery store which specializes in local produce, including my husbands beans.)
1 rasher of thick cut bacon (I get the bacon ends from Trader Joe's which are super cheap, and a little goes a long way)
3 (large) cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped very fine
1 tablespoon Sage
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1/2 shallot chopped fine
1/2 a rasher of thick bacon, chopped small

About 3/4 of a box of spaghetti

Boil the squash in salted water until it is tender. Cook the bacon, garlic, and shallots in a large pan. Puree the squash with a little salt and lots of pepper and the ricotta cheese. After the bacon, garlic and shallots are well cooked, add  the squash and mix it up and let it simmer for a little while.Add in the Parmesan and mix again.

While the sauce simmers start boiling some more salted water for the spaghetti and chop up the 1/2 shallot and the other bit of bacon. In a tiny bit of olive oil, cook the bacon and shallot until they are both crispy.

Set these aside in a bowl. And try with all your might not to nibble the bacon. 

Once the spaghetti is cooked al dente, drain it and throw it into the pot of sauce. Or wok, if you, like me, use a wok for everything. 
Mix it all together, using tongs so that the sauce coats the pasta completely. 

Once this is taken care of, serve it up with a sprinkling of bacon and shallots on top and maybe a little bit of cheese. 

We ate ours with a slice of Lemon Rosemary bread from When Pigs Fly Bakery in Kittery which quite possibly may be my favorite place IN THE WORLD. So.Without further ado, make this delicious dish. Tell me if you like it as much as we did...I have a feeling this will be a repeat pasta throughout the winter in our little house.

And please do enjoy your Sunday, day of rest.

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