Showing posts with label Carbonara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carbonara. Show all posts

Friday, November 10, 2017

Smoked Chicken Carbonara

My supermarket seems to have undergone a personality transplant over the past year or two. First it was in the exotic vegetables and fruits, and you’ve seen some recipes for those here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen.

Then the imported foods and spices began to creep across their shelves until they’d doubled in number. Lots of interesting stuff there! I spend a lot of time in that section just reading the labels.

Now the store moved on to expanding its meat selection. I was minding my own business (actually I was looking for duck breasts, but there are seldom many of those), and somehow I stumbled upon smoked chicken parts. I never knew they existed commercially, so of course I grabbed a package and went recipe-hunting. There were plenty, but they ranged all over the place in ingredients and complexity, and I wanted something simple to showcase the flavor of the smoked chicken. So I kind of improvised a carbonara.

No doubt you’ve seen carbonara (that’s Italian and it sort of refers to a charcoal pit). It’s a quick and easy recipe that generally combines spaghetti, cheese, various meats and eggs. Here’s my smoked chicken version.

The chicken as packaged was already cooked, so all I had to do was shred it.

Smoked Chicken Carbonara


1 Tblsp olive oil
2 oz. pancetta (if your store doesn’t happen to have pancetta, you can use two strips of bacon, as long as it’s not too salty)
1 Tblsp minced garlic
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley (Italian if you have it), chopped
3/4 lb. spaghetti
2 cups shredded smoked chicken (two breasts made enough)
Salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta (or bacon) and garlic and cook until they are brown and slightly crisp.

In a bowl, whisk together the cream, cheese, egg yolks and herbs.

Make your spaghetti as you usually would.

Add the smoked chicken to the pan with the pancetta and garlic and stir to cover the chicken pieces. Then add the spaghetti and mix. 

Finally, add the cream mixture and toss over low heat until the chicken is heated through and the sauce coats the spaghetti (just a few minutes). Taste the sauce and season if necessary.

And there you have it! 

(By the way, our cat Dexter decided he likes smoked chicken.)

On shelves now! (In case I didn't mention it often enough.) A Late Frost--the eleventh Orchard Mystery!

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and lots of bookstores (I hope)!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Classic Carbonara Pasta with Bacon

From Daryl / Avery: 

Hi, all. I'm at the Malice Domestic Conference in Bethesda, MD for the next few days, so I did some cooking early so I could share recipes with you. Hope you don't mind. I'll put up pictures from the conference next week. It's like old home week. Lots of my author buddies are here, including many from Mystery Lovers Kitchen.

Now, for this week's post.

Salt & Pepper, culinary books & darling kitchen gifts

Because my new protagonist, Jenna, isn't much of a cook, I'm trying to "unlearn" my own cooking style and go strictly by the book. No guessing. No estimating. Read those instructions and cook!

And guess what? The recipes usually work! How about that?

I found a super simple recipe in a book that my cookbook maven Christine from SALT AND PEPPER BOOKS, in Occoquan, Virginia introduced me to for SIMPLE, EASY RECIPES.  {PS  I'm going to be at Salt and Pepper Books tomorrow along with Krista, Peg, Lucy/Roberta, Mary Jane (Victoria Albert), and Jennifer Stanley. Stop in if you can!}

Anyway, the book...

It's called: How to Cook Everything, the basics: All You Need to Make Great Food by Mark Bittman. Don't you love how long cookbook titles can be? [Not!] But as Jenna's aunt says, a title like How To Cook doesn't quite narrow it down, does it?

Inside this fabulously dense cookbook, I found a super simple recipe for pasta, eggs, and cheese.  Take it one step further and add bacon, and you have pasta carbonara.

Note: This cookbook is so good for the beginner, I bought a copy of it for my daughter-in-law who was afraid to boil water until she received this gift. She's not any longer. Yay! 

Pasta with Eggs and Cheese and Bacon
A Classic Carbonara
Recipe borrowed from 
How to Cook Everything, the basics: All You Need to Make Great Food 
by Mark Bittman

(I tweaked this recipe and made it gluten-free and it was fabulous!)

20-30 minutes to prepare
Makes 4 servings:


3 eggs
½ cup fresh grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (I used San Joaquin Gold from Fiscalini Farmstead) A cow’s milk cheese with wonderful nutty flavor and crunchy crystals
1 pound linguine or spaghetti
2-4 slices of bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper


Cook the bacon crisply, crumble, and set aside.

Grate the cheese and set aside.

Bring a stockpot of water to a boil and add salt, about a teaspoon.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200 degrees and put in an ovenproof bowl for about 5 minutes. When you remove, be sure you are wearing a mitt. 

Crack the eggs into he bowl and stir briskly with a fork or whisk. Add the cheese and stir a little more.

When the water boils, cook the pasta until it is tender but not mushy, about 3-5 minutes (read the product label – gluten-free pasta takes longer!).  When it’s done, scoop out some of the cooking water, about a cup, and reserve. Then drain the pasta.

Immediately toss the pasta with the eggs and cheese. If it’s too dry (not likely), add a little of the pasta cooking water to the mix. [I didn’t have to.]

Add the crumpled bacon, a little more salt, and cracked pepper.

Serve immediately (maybe with a light green salad). Enjoy!!


* * * * * * *
Daryl Wood Gerber also writes as Avery Aames, 
author of the Agatha Award-winning,
nationally bestselling CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY SERIES 

The 1st in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series is coming July 2013!!
You can pre-order the book HERE.

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is out
You can order the book HERE. 

You can learn more about me, Daryl by clicking this LINK. "Like" my page on Facebook and "follow" me on TwitterAnd if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! Also, you probably know by now about my alter ego, Avery Aames. Chat with Avery on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Comic Book Carbonara: A Graphic Novel Pasta from Cleo Coyle

When I first met my husband, he whipped up a fantastic spaghetti carbonara that has since become part of our menu. Because he’s part Italian, and because both his mother and father taught him how to cook, I assumed his recipe came from one of them. Not so. Marc informed me that he found the recipe in a 1980's comic book.

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.
The comic was Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg!, launched in 1983. Fans of this series include Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon, who hailed Flagg as a precursor to the cyberpunk genre of science fiction.

Flagg is not for everyone. It presents a hard-boiled look at life in 2031—after nuclear war and an economic collapse leave things a tad chaotic in the USA. How bad do things get in Chaykin's 2031? One example: The broken down piano player who inhabits the local lounge is Princess Diana's oldest son.

As for today's recipe, spaghetti carbonara happens to be the favorite dish of Rubin Flagg, the comic book's hero. The recipe was published in the same issue that Rubin cooked it up. (Recipes included in fiction! Is that a good idea or what?) 

Carbonara also appears in
On What Grounds:
A Coffeehouse Mystery
Click here to learn more.
Marc made the recipe one day, and it is now part of our personal culinary history. Carbonara is also part of our publishing history because it plays a diverting role in our first Coffeehouse Mystery, On What Grounds. When two alpha male characters argue about the proper way to prepare the dish, our amateur sleuth (Clare Cosi) breaks up the deadlock before cleavers are thrown.

As far as this dish's actual history, pasta carbonara may not have originated in Italy. Some say Italian immigrants developed it in America during the Depression, which is easy for me to believe since my father, who grew up during that era, remembers the "old timers" throwing lard into the skillet to start everything from sautéed vegetables to pasta sauce. 

Some believe the dish was created during World War II, when ingredients common to American GI's—bacon, powdered eggs, and powdered milk—were handed out to hungry Italian citizens during the American occupation. (For more on the history of this dish, click here.)

Today Italians make this dish, which they call pasta alla carbonara, with raw eggs instead of cream (which is more commonly used in versions found in the US, France, Spain, and the UK). Italians also use pancetta or guanciale (types of Italian bacon). To each his own, as they say. And, when it comes to this recipe, our own is below...


Cleo Coyle's
Comic Book Carbonara

Adapted from the comic book series American Flagg!

To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.

With bacon and cream, you'd think this dish would be heavy, but it's very light and so delicious that a single bowl truly satisfies. Paired with a spinach or tomato salad, it's a complete meal for us. In the summer, we'll eat it as a late lunch or early dinner and simply finish the day with a fruit salad and frozen yogurt.

One last note: The pasta you see in my pictures is Garden Delight spaghetti from Ronzoni. It's enriched with tomato, carrot, and spinach, which provides a full serving of vegetables per 4 ounce portion. The flavor and texture were very nice and the colors let our eyes eat first. 


12 - 16 ounces spaghetti (usually 1 package)
(about) 8 ounces bacon (we use 5 thick-cut bacon slices)
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons heavy cream (+ a tiny bit extra, just in case)
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese
(optional) Ground pepper to taste


Step 1 – Make spaghetti according to package directions.

Step 2 – While your pasta water is coming to a boil, begin to make the cream sauce. Into a large skillet, slice up the bacon. I simply snip the bacon slices into ¼- to ½-inch pieces using kitchen shears. Turn the heat up to medium and begin to sweat the bacon pieces. After a few minutes, as the fat begins to render (but long before the bacon browns or crisps), toss in the garlic.

Sweat the bacon and
toss in whole garlic cloves...

Step 3 – When the bacon is browned and cooked through (but not crisp or dry), remove the garlic cloves and drain the bacon grease out of the pan. Set aside and finish cooking your spaghetti. When the spaghetti is completely drained, set aside and finish the sauce.

Step 4 – To the pan with the cooked bacon, add a tablespoon of butter. As soon as the butter melts, stir in the cream. Simmer the mixture until it thickens. If the sauce breaks, simply add a bit more cream and stir again.

Remove the garlic, drain the bacon fat,
toss in a pat of butter and the cream...

Step 5 – Add the cooked and drained spaghetti to the large skillet. Pour the grated cheese over the pasta and toss...

Place a pepper grinder and a small bowl of grated cheese
on the dinner table for guests to finish their plates to their taste.
Then plate that pasta up and...

Eat with joy! 

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
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Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

Thank You,

Our hardcover bestseller
is now a bestseller
in paperback...

*Starred Review ~ Kirkus
"Top Pick" ~ RT Book Reviews
"A highly satisfying mystery" - PW

Billionaire Blend
A Coffeehouse Mystery

This culinary murder mystery features
more than 30 delicious recipes, including
secret "off the menu" coffee drinks.
Read (and eat) with joy!

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Recipe Guide 
by clicking here.


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