There are currently only three chickens in our backyard flock: Ducky, Feather, and Feather. Yes, two Feathers, both black. I’ll gloss over the details of what happened to the original black Feather, and just tell you that when we got chicks the following spring, my oldest exclaimed in delight: “This time we have two Feathers!” And so we do.
The Girls (by which, at the moment, I mean the three chickens, not the three little girls who live inside with us; it does get confusing sometimes) usually keep us amply supplied with eggs. Today we had run out, though, so I was pleased that an afternoon visit to the coop yielded the two eggs I needed to make this recipe. Taking fresh-laid eggs straight to the table never gets old for me.
This recipe is inspired by the Carbonara with Mama Lil’s Peppers on Michael Natkin’s delightfully-named vegetarian blog Herbivoracious (and check out his new Herbivoracious cookbook as well). I love Mama Lil’s Peppers and think they’re an inspired addition to pastas, pizzas, antipasto plates, and much more. (I even gave J a jar of the spicy ones as part of his Fathers Day present. But use the mild ones for this recipe!) A vegetarian carbonara is untraditional, of course–usually it gets a hit of smoky salt from bacon–and I departed from Michael’s departure from tradition by adding hot-smoked salmon instead.Smoked Salmon Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Spicy Peppers: Put a pot of spaghetti on to cook (we used about 3/4 lb. to serve four adults). While noodles are cooking, warm 1/2 c. Mama Lil’s mildly spicy peppers in a wide pan in some of their own oil (or, for a less-spicy version, drain them and use olive oil instead). Add a few thinly-sliced cloves of garlic to the peppers and simmer gently over medium-low heat. In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs with a few oz. finely-grated Parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt, and plenty of freshly-ground black pepper. When the noodles are almost ready, add flaked smoked salmon to the pepper-and-garlic pan and stir until warmed through. Drain pasta and add to the pan on the stove, tossing for a minute over the heat. Quickly scrape pasta into the bowl of eggs and toss thoroughly to combine. Add a handful of chopped parsley and toss again.