My almost stepdaughter, Antonie, loves creamy Carbonara Sauce and I wanted to make her some, but I was out of eggs. So, I made her a variation that I used to make for my kids when they were little. It’s really a mashup of Carbonara Sauce and Alfredo Sauce. My sons really disliked eggs back then and they were perfectly happy eating plain buttered pasta. In order to up the nutritional value of that frequent choice, I first added Parmesan Cheese and then eventually the Pancetta, lightly browned onions and the Cream. It became one of their absolute favorite pasta sauces. My kids always liked pasta with shapes rather than spaghetti and I like to serve it with any pasta that has little nooks to hold onto the sauce so I usually serve it with the corkscrew kind even though I know that is not traditional. And, I usually have brown rice pasta to make this dish Gluten Free. I don't make or eat this sauce very often because it is so rich and because I am lactose intolerant. Luckily, butter, Parmesan Cheese and whole Cream all have only a little lactose and this was worth taking a Lactaid pill for - it's that delicious. When I made it last night, Antonie loved it so much that she wanted to lick the bowl!
Carbonara-Alfredo Sauce with Whole Grain Pasta
8 ounces cut up Pancetta (or bacon)
4 ounces Butter
1 small red onion, minced
2 cups Cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Ground Pepper
¼ cup reserved Pasta Water
1 pound Whole Grain Pasta or Gluten Free Pasta, cooked according to package directions
Melt butter in a frying pan and add the onions. Cook until they become translucent. Add the Pancetta and cook until it just starts to become crispy on the edges. Add in the Cream and Parmesan Cheese and stir until well blended. Sprinkle on pepper to taste.
While Pasta is cooking, be sure to take out a small amount of pasta cooking water. When the pasta is done, drain and return it to the pot. Pour sauce over and stir to coat. Add in the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce a bit, stir again and serve immediately with extra Parmesan Cheese.
Five Element Analysis
Cream, Butter, Onions and Parmesan Cheese all belong to the Metal Element and the Parmesan in particular gives this sauce an amazing Umami flavor. The Pancetta contributes the Water Element and the Whole Grain Pasta brings in the Wood Element. Serve this pasta with a salad that represents the Fire Element and something sweet for dessert to contribute Earth and you will have a balanced Five Element meal.