Pasta is a wonderfully versatile dish. You can add meats, fish, veggies, cheese, sauces in all kinds of combinations to suit pretty much any occasion. It is the gift that keeps on giving. Saying that, I’m not that big a fan of pasta 🤷♀️ I’m more here for the sauces, meats and veggies that go with it. Much to the dismay of Mike, who i’m pretty sure would eat pasta for every meal if he had the choice. Recently however, I found myself craving something light, summery and, to even my surprise, pasta-y. Those cravings lead to this little Prawn and Summer Vegetable Carbonara Recipe, and I’m so glad they did!
This Prawn and Summer Vegetable Carbonara is a twist on a traditional Carbonara. Pancetta is replaced with prawns and we’ve added lots of summer veggies like courgette and asparagus which makes it light and also seasonal. The sauce is a simple mixture of egg and parmesan but with lemon and parsley throw in as well. You’ve still got lots of creamy sauce like the original, so you’re still getting those comforting pasta vibes, but the flavours are fresher and perfect for this weather. Maybe with a cold glass of wine too (#balance).
How to make Carbonara sauce
A traditional Carbonara sauce is made simply with eggs, parmesan cheese and a little pepper. It does not contain cream or milk like you may find in some recipes. Instead the creamy sauce is made like this:
- While your pasta is cooking whisk your eggs in a separate bowl with the parmesan cheese and pepper.
- Cook your other ingredients (pancetta, prawns, vegetables) in a separate frying pan.
- Once everything is cooked to your liking drain your pasta, reserving some of the cooking water, and add the pasta to your frying pan. Toss all of the ingredients together.
- Take your frying pan off the heat, add 2-3 tablespoons of the pasta water and wait for 30 seconds to allow the pan to cool slightly.
- Then toss your egg and parmesan mixture into the pasta, mixing everything together for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce is smooth, glossy and has thickened slightly.
If your pan is too hot you risk the eggs scrambling instead of cooking into a sauce. Conversely if the pan isn’t warm enough the egg won’t cook! It can be a difficult balance sometimes and it definitely comes with a little bit of practice. I have a few tips to ensure you get the best sauce!
- Drain your pasta, using a colander, over a mug. This will ensure you have more than enough pasta water to add to the dish, should you need it (you won’t need the whole mug, but it’s better to be safe than sorry).
- If you’re using a thicker pan, like a cast iron skillet, you may need to wait a little longer for the pan to cool as it will retain the heat for longer than your regular, run of the mill non-stick frying pan.
- Adding a few tablespoons of pasta water before adding the egg mixture will help cool the pan down.
- Keep the mixture moving. The longer the sauce is in contact with the frying pan the more likely you will get scrambled eggs. Toss everything for a good few minutes, adding water as necessary, until you are happy with the sauce.
- SERVE IMMEDIATELY! This is best served while it is warm and creamy.
Can you reheat Carbonara?
I mean, technically, yes. Are you going to get the same creamy sauce? Definitely not. Adding heat back to the dish means you’re at risk of scrambling those eggs. Plus the sauce will have thickened up considerably while it’s cooled. If you’re going to reheat it do it in a frying pan, not a microwave, so you can control the temperature. Do it on a low heat, and if the mixture is very thick, add a little bit or warm water to loosen things up. Take your time. It won’t be as good as fresh but it definitely won’t be bad!
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If you’ve tried this recipe please let me know in the comments and leave a rating!Print
A twist on tradition; this easy carbonara recipe is filled with prawns, courgette and asparagus and flavoured with parsley and lemon. Yum!
- 120g wholewheat penne pasta, dried
- 2 eggs
- 20g parmesan, grated
- 1tsp pepper
- 1/2tbsp olive oil
- 2 small courgettes OR 1 large courgette, 1cm slice
- 200g asparagus, hard stalk removed and sliced into thirds
- 200g prawns
- 15g parsley, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Cook your pasta as per the packet instructions.
- While you pasta is cooking break the eggs into a bowl with the parmesan and pepper, and whisk together.
- Warm the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the courgette and asparagus and cook for 4-6 minutes, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and tender.
- Move the vegetables to one side of the frying pan, add the prawns and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until pink and cooked through.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain the water, saving a cup full. Add the pasta to the frying pan along with the lemon juice and a few tablespoons of the pasta water, mix everything together.
- Turn off the heat and wait 30 seconds for the pan to cool slightly. Then add your egg and parmesan mixture to the frying pan and toss everything together. If the sauce looks too thick add some more of the pasta water. You want a glossy sauce that clings to the pasta.
- Mix in the parsley and serve in bowls. Enjoy!
Keywords: Carbonara Recipe, Vegetable Carbonara, Prawn Carbonara, Pasta Recipe, Healthy Carbonara