So last week I bought a new garlic press.
Don’t underestimate the joy this purchase brought me (surely a sign that I am a true grown-up?!).
My previous garlic press was clumsy, unwieldy and broke every nine of ten uses. In short, it sucked the big one. Happily the replacement is a marvel of engineering (no kidding, I marvelled for so long the dinner started to burn…or perhaps that was a mini blackout. Note to self: stop drinking while cooking).
Since I’m like a proud new parent, here’s a picture of my kitchen gadget offspring but please note that I don’t get paid by the manufacturer to endorse it. I haven’t even mentioned the name so no selling out here.
The little beauty debuted in last night’s dinner – chicken carbonara with squash noodles.
This isn’t your typical carbonara. I’m just not that sort of cook, I haven’t met a recipe yet that I didn’t want to interfere with (that sounded wrong).
It may not be the ‘traditional’ version but this carbonara has all the perks you’d expect from the Italian classic – the creamy sauce, the subtle parmesan and the salty bacon (or pancetta) juices.
I’ve replaced the pasta with spaghetti squash, a vegetable which only recently made my acquaintance but has proved a worthy alternative to the belly-hating pasta. Despite the name, it resembles noodles more than spaghetti but whatever, it’s a nice healthy carb to soak up the sauce.
Chicken Carbonara with Squash Noodles (serves 2)
- 1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast
- 4 rashers of smoked, streaky bacon (I used the hickory smoked from Applegate)
- 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
- 3 small button mushrooms, finely sliced
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 2 tbsps heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more to serve
- 2 tsps black pepper
- 5 tbsps EVOO
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half length ways. Brush the flesh with olive oil and season then place, cut side down, in a glass baking dish or appropriately lined baking tray and bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your squash.
- When baked, turn the oven off, remove the squash and carefully fork out the flesh. It should separate into something approximating noodles. Scoop out as much as possible and place back in the warm oven til needed.
- Heat 2 tbsps of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Mince the garlic with an awesome garlic press then add to the oil. Cut your chicken into equal sized chunks about an inch thick and add these. Slice the bacon into similar sized strips and add to the pot. Gently fry for about 8 minutes until the meat is cooked.
- Remove meat with a slated spoon, preserving the delicious juices in the pan. Set aside.
- Saute the mushrooms and onions in the meat juices for 5 minutes til soft, stirring to ensure they are well coated.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk together the egg, cream, black pepper and parmesan.
- Put the squash noodles in the saucepan together with the mushrooms and onions. Stir in the chicken, bacon and spinach. Lastly stir in the egg and cream mixture. Everything should still be warm so the eggs will gently cook as you mix it all together.
- Transfer to a plate or dish and top with more parmesan and black pepper.