It's been unseasonably rainy here in Vienna, which means I crave one thing: Pasta Carbonara.
My love affair with Pasta Carbonara began several years ago on a university study abroad trip in Rome. All of the food I ate in Rome was sensational, with the exception of the powdered eggs served to us every morning for breakfast. One meal however, stood out above the rest. On our last night in Rome, the group went to a restaurant for a final celebration meal. I ordered a bowl of pasta carbonara with bits of shaved black truffles.
This was, I believe, before truffles exploded on to the scene as a très chic ingredient - and to me, they were fairly new. That pasta however, was a revelation of luxurious but simple cooking, house made pasta dripping in parmesan, pancetta, truffle, and rich egg yolk.
I've been smitten ever since.
Now the Carbonara purists of the world may consider my Carbonara philosophy blasphemous. In my opinion, the basis of Carbonara is parmesan, egg yolk, bacon, and pepper. That flavor combination can complement many ingredients, yes? So why not pour it over potatoes and make Potato Carbonara? Or Risotto Carbonara? Hmm...Risotto Carbonara...That sounds good...
*walks over to pantry*
No pasta either, for that matter.
Farro? Farro is kind of like rice...but more "Whole Foods approved." Healthy Carbonara! Brilliant!
And thus this recipe was born, with the addition of Leeks because
1. Leeks are delicious, and
2. I had it in my refrigerator.
Friends, I don't share all of my "what-do-I-have-in-my-pantry-today?" experiments, but this one is a winner. It has the health benefits of Farro, but cooked like a Risotto, with the flavor profile of a Carbonara. I also did you a favor and left out the butter. Didn't I tell you it was Healthy Carbonara?!
Never mind, no one ever made Carbonara for it's health benefits. It's all about the pleasure of glorious food. So whether it is rainy and cold (like it has been here), or you are only pretending it is, I hope you can take a moment to curl up and enjoy a bowl of rainy-day Carbonara blasphemy.