Monday, October 15, 2012

Portobello and Leek Carbonara + Pasta GIVEAWAY!

Did you know that October is National Pasta Month?  
This seems totally appropriate, as what could be a cozier way to usher in cold weather and warm sweaters than to snuggle up with a satisfying, comforting bowl of carb-y goodness in the form of pasta?  When I married an Italian, I signed on for a life of such pleasures, and so far it has been splendid.  So, I was especially excited to tell him when I was approached by the National Pasta Association to take part in their Pasta Fits campaign to celebrate National Pasta Month on SMJ.  

The whole idea is that Pasta Fits your lifestyle, budget, and diet, and in this household that is certainly true.  There are few dishes that are as inexpensive, easy to get onto the table, and crowd pleasing as pasta.  And pasta doesn't deserve the bad rap it got during the insanity years of South Beach and Atkins... with so many whole grain and veggie-based varieties to choose from and the use of a little portion control, pasta is absolutely a base for healthy, weight-friendly recipes.  We probably eat it at least twice as week, as it is always sure to make the husband happy and produce plenty of delicious lunch-leftovers.  Needless to say, we were quite stoked to receive this awesome box of goodies from the National Pasta Association...
Here we have: Dreamfields® Spaghetti, Mueller’s® Whole Grain Spaghetti, Heartland® Gluten Free Wheat Free Penne, Heartland® Gluten Free Wheat Free Spaghetti, Ronzoni Healthy Harvest® Spaghetti, Ronzoni Garden Delight® Rotini, and an Ultragrain Pasta® Spaghetti Spoon.  Boo ya.
I was invited to prepare a healthy recipe with one of these lovely pastas to share with you in celebration of National Pasta Month.  When my mom overbought some gorgeous leeks at the farmers market and dropped the excess off at my house, I knew I had to make this Tyler Florence-inspired Portobello and Leek Carbonara I had spied on Pinterest.
We love a good carbonara in this house.  Packed with protein and savory goodness, carbonara is inexpensive to make, filling, and so soul-satisfying.  The trick to making a perfect carbonara with an eggy sauce, rather than just ending up with pasta and scrambled eggs, is to remove the pan from the heat before adding the egg mixture, and to be prepared to continue stirring rapidly until the egg is all incorporated.  The result is the most perfect silky pasta sauce of your dreams. I love the addition of some fiber-rich, flavorful and healthy veggies in this recipe.  Thanks T.Flo!  

Portobello and Leek Carbonara
Adapted from Tyler Florence and How Sweet Eats
serves 2-4
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and patted dry
12 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
1/2 pound spaghetti or linguine (we used the Dreamfields Spaghetti in this recipe)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1) Bring water for pasta to a boil.
2) Heat a large skillet oven medium heat and add bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy, about 6-7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Reduce heat to low.
3) Add in leeks with a pinch of salt, then toss mushrooms on top. Stir everything together to coat, then let cook until ingredients are softened, about 5 minutes. At this time, throw the pasta in the water to cook – it is really important that the pasta is hot. While the pasta is cooking, mix eggs and cheese together in a large bowl. The mixture will be thick.
4) As soon as pasta is finished, reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta. Remove the skillet from the heat and immediately add the pasta into the skillet. Toss with the leeks and mushrooms to coat. With a large spoon in one hand, add the egg mixture right on top and immediately begin stirring the pasta together.
The hubs has completely mastered this step.  Hats off to you, hubs.
5) At this time if desired, add the pasta water to the skillet to make things a bit more creamy and saucy. Toss in bacon. Serve immediately with extra cheese!
Mmmm, bacon.
I do think vegetarians could attempt a bacon-free carbonara, but this pregnant lady wanted all the salty little porky goodness she could hoard in one bowl.  I loved the Dreamfields Spaghetti we used as well, and would definitely purchase this brand again.  I've been trying hard to keep my fiber amped up (important for all of us, but especially for the sluggish digestion of advanced pregnancy) and pack protein into every meal.  A serving of the Dreamfields Spaghetti has 5g of fiber (regular semolina pasta has more like 2g) and 7g of protein: perfect.  Together with the meaty mushrooms, silky leeks and protein-rich egg, this was a perfect healthy comfort dinner (yes, even with the bacon... because what is life without a little decadence).

And now for some fun... A PASTA GIVEAWAY!!!
The National Pasta Association would like to send one SMJ reader a Pasta Fits Prize Pack identical to the one pictured above!

That's a whole lotta pasta, people.  This would be enough of a stash to get you through some serious fall entertaining, and there is something for every palate, including Gluten Free and Whole Wheat varieties.

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this post.  
If you'd like, share your favorite pasta recipe!  
 You can also follow the Pasta Fits campaign on Facebook (, Twitter (@pastafits), or Pinterest (

I'm feeling like this little dude may arrive on the scene sooner than later, so let's get this giveaway going!  Leave your comment, and I'll randomly pick a winner this Friday morning, October 19.
Thanks for your comment, and happy Pasta Month!


  1. Please come cook for me, SMJ. Fo' real.

    We are weekly happy pasta consumers too. Yum!

    Can't wait to meet little dude #2!!! xoxo

  2. I've always been a little afraid of carbonara - not serving scrambled eggs but raw eggs. I recently gave it a try with a simple peppery recipe from another friend with an occasionally foodie blog:

    Think of you and your new addition to be...

  3. Portobello and Leek Carbonara looks so good!!

  4. I'll admit that I had never had Pasta Carbonara until one month ago while we were in Rome. And all I can say is...WHY did I wait so long?! :) Although, my favorite Italian dish was Cacio e Pepe - DELIC!!

    Fav King Cole Pasta Dish: Pea Bacon Pasta. It's a made up name....based on the ingredients...which we almost always have on hand...that plus half & half and shallots. For a family of 2: fry up 4 (or 5..okay 6 if no one is watching) slices of bacon while you boil up capellini. Remove the bacon and fry up two sliced shallots in the bacon...fat? grease? deliciousness?

    Once the shallots are golden, add a cup of half & half and a lot of peas (we...okay, I like peas.) Cook for 2ish minutes. Combine with the drained pasta, top with chopped bacon and lots of Parmensan. I don't need to say, "serve with wine," right?

  5. Carbonara is a fave at the Boss Lady A residence!

  6. Looks family enjoys goulash, lasagna

  7. Love pasta! And I totally agree that it doesn't deserve the negative reputation it has gained in recent years. One of my favorites is just a simple al dente spaghetti with some quickly sauteed garlic, olive oil & red pepper flakes. And of course, good old mac & cheese (both classic and those recipes with new twists).

  8. I love pasta so much, great giveaway!

  9. I love whole grain pasta! I eat it 1-2 times a week, usually made with cream and cheese or homemade macaroni. *crosses fingers for a win*

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