Better Pasta Carbonara and a Wine Review

Better Pasta Carbonara and Armarone Wine Review

Who doesn’t love pasta carbonara with it’s smoky rich flavor but when you make the traditional way it can be high in calories and fat. This recipe uses milk cheddar cheese to help bind...but you still get all of that yummy bacon goodness. You may also use turkey bacon if regular bacon is not in your dietary plan. We paired this with a Fratelli Recchia Valpolicella Classico Superiore le Muraie di Ripasso 2008 from our friends at Wine Chateu.
A wine review is below.

Better Pasta Carbonara

8 oz spaghetti or other pasta of choice

6 slices lean bacon fat trimmed and cut into small pieces

1T olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 T white wine (can use chicken stock)

2 T grated sharp cheddar cheese

2/3 cup skim milk

Freshly ground black pepper

Grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.

Heat a non-stick pan and add the bacon, cook on medium high heat for about five minutes until browned. Use a paper towel to blot any excess fat.

Stir in mustard and wine/stock and cook for three more minutes.

Reduce heat and add the cheddar, stir until melted.

Remove pan from heat and let cool slightly. Season with pepper to taste.

Gradually add the milk stirring continusouly until combine. Do not add any additional heat at this stage.

Drain the pasta and return to the warm pot. Pour the carbonara sauce over the pasta and toss gently. Add parmesan cheese to taste.

To make Better add one element of whole grain pasta, organic bacon or organic mustard. To make Best add multiple elements of whole grain pasta, organic bacon and organic mustard.

Fratelli Recchia Valpolicella Classico Superiore le Muraie di Ripasso 2008 wine review.

My friends at Wine Chateau are always so generous and send me wines to review and create a recipe around. I love a challenge and this Fratelli Recchia Valpolicella Classico Superiore le Muraie di Ripasso 2008 was no exception and a wonderful surprise. Amarone is not a wine I am typically familiar with but after some research I chose the carbonara recipe above as it is something I have been making for years and the Amarone was the perfect reason to share this recipe with you.

The Fratelli Recchia Valpolicella Classico Superiore le Muraie di Ripasso 2008  has lovely hints of dried fruit. In fact Amarone wine is make with partially dried grapes and the hints of dried grape, raspberry and cherry really shine thorugh. This wine is non-acidic with a smooth finish. One thing to keep in mind is that this wine has a higher alcohol level at 15% than most wines. All in all this is a lovely wine.

If you live in New Jersey stop into Wine Chateau for all of your wine needs. Even if you don’t live in New Jersey you can have wine shipped from Wine Chateau at very reasonable rates.

Enjoy the Best Food and Wine!



Friday Five-the grains/sides

For my second Friday Five, I wanted to share what grains/side dishes I always have on hand. You can be sure that if you walked into the Good Better Best Food test kitchen these items would either be in stock or on my shopping list. 1) Trader Joe’s frozen rice- They come in organic and non-organic. Right now I have both the organic brown rice and the jasmine rice on hand. The Sweet Boy loves jasmine rice and while we try to not eat too much white rice, this is perfect for a busy night like we had last Tuesday. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you pick some up. 2) Polenta-I always have the log style polenta on hand. You can find this in both conventional and organic. This is great to slice and grill on a grill pan with sausage or serve with meat sauce as an alternative to pasta. 3) Alexia sweet potato fries-These are a freezer staple in our house. All of the fun of French fries but with a little more nutritional value. Perfect when you are having burger night…Good Better Best style. 4) Canned Black Beans-Yet something else that I buy in multiples at the grocery store. This is a pretty cheap upgrade if you want to go from conventional to organic, usually it is about 10 cents more. I rinse and then heat in the microwave for about a minute. Low fat and high fiber for taco night. 5) Quinoa-I had never had quinoa before I went gluten free, but this is a fast side dish that is very versatile. Typically I just use a little butter and parmesan cheese but you can add olive oil, pine nuts, raisins. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy the Best Food and this Friday Five. Patty

Friday Fives-Proteins

One thing that readers keep bringing up to me is that they want to know more about where I get my ingredients and what I cook on busy weeknights. I think the best way to do this is through a Friday Five. This week I will start with Proteins.

1)      Thin Sliced Chicken Breasts: I always have multiple packages of these in my freezer. They cook up very quickly and there are many quick sauces you can make for these. The Sweet Boy loves they just pan seared in olive oil with salt and pepper.
2)      Boneless steaks:  I never used to cook steak on weeknights until a few years ago. Steak just seemed like a Saturday night dinner. How wrong I was. I typically cook small boneless steaks on a grill pan during the week with a little bit of olive oil and Montreal seasoning. In about 15 minutes you can have a great steak, just keep it small and lean.
3)      Boneless pork chops: These also cook up very quickly and there are a million ways to cook them. Add a sauce, bread them (I can do this gluten free) and pan fry in olive oil for milanese, use in stir fry. We eat a lot of pork chops in our house.
4)      Chicken sausage: I typically buy organic chicken sausage in either a sweet italian or sun driend tomato variety. I always remove the casing... Great for pasta, grilling, and served on polenta. Fast, healthier than regular sausage but with all of the flavor.
5)       Amylu Chicken Burgers: This is one prepared product that I always have on stock. They are low fat, high protein and downright yummy. Best of all they are precooked. They are awesome on a busy night. I promise you that you can either microwave or pan grill these as fast as you could make a drive-thru order and these are so much better. I buy them at Costco and when I go now I always buy two packages at a time.

So there is my first Friday Five. Enjoy the Best Food!
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