Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Little Appetizer For My Football Fans: Carbonara Frittata with NestFresh Eggs

This time of year the blogosphere is absolutely abuzz with ideas and recipes for the Super Bowl. Even though I am not a football fan at all, I also get involved in this fury because I love so many people who are, which of course includes you my treasured reader.

This year I have been brainstorming for a snack that my daughter could enjoy while watching the game. She's not a vegetarian or a carnivore, just a person who prefers eating meatless if she has the choice (unless her dad and I are treating at her favorite steakhouse).

I had already decided on making this little carbonara pasta appetizer for this blog post when as luck would have it I was sent some coupons to give Nestfresh eggs a try as part of their celebration for National Egg Month.

If you aren't familiar with them, Nestfresh eggs are produced at smaller, independent farms that keep their hens in a certified 100% cage free or free range environment. Their eggs range from brown and white cage free to non-GMO free range, organic, pasture raised, and Omega 3 varieties, all produced with a commitment to sustainable agriculture and humane animal treatment. For more information about these delicious eggs with a conscience, please click here.

So, with a dozen of these beautiful brown eggs on my counter top, I couldn't wait to make this light meat pasta dish that I mentioned earlier for my daughter. I used to make it (or versions of it) all the time and for some reason it fell off my recipe rotation, but it is time to resurrect it. It is easy, delicious and good either warmed or at room temperature, which makes it pretty much perfect for any party buffet.

Want to make it completely vegetarian? Substitute the bacon for sun dried tomatoes, your favorite roasted peppers or sauteed mushrooms. If you want to really knock out your guests, double the bacon. You can never have too much bacon.

Carbonara Frittata

I always have a tendency to under season this dish a bit. Between the salty pasta cooking water, the cheese and the bacon, I am always worried that it will be over salted, but it never is. Everyone loves it anyway and the salt shaker is always close by. My recipe here is a good start, but I leave it up to you as to how much more salt you add.

4 - 6 slices thick bacon, cut across in 1/4" slices
1/2 of a small sweet yellow onion, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, crushed
8 large eggs
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Generous grinding of coarse black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
8 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked in salted water per package directions, and rinsed with cool water then drained
1 tablespoon oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place bacon slices in a medium size ovenproof frying pan set over medium high heat. Fry until medium well. Add onion and continue cooking until they are transparent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Transfer to a small bowl with a slotted spoon; set aside.

Place eggs, mustard, Parmesan, whipping cream, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Whisk until mixture is well combined and frothy. Add cooked pasta to the egg mixture and toss well to coat; set aside.

Wipe out the same frying pan that the bacon was cooked in with paper towels. Place back on a medium high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, pour in the pasta mixture. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the bottom is brown when lifted slightly with a spatula.

Transfer to the preheated oven and cook for approximately 20 minutes, give or take 5 minutes or so, or until it is slightly firm in the center.

Carefully remove from the oven and invert onto a large plate, then slide back into the frying pan. Return the pan to your cook top over medium high heat. Brown the "top" for approximately 5 minutes, checking for desired color by lifting slightly with a spatula.

Transfer to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges or bite size morsels.

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