Tag Archives: pasta

tasso carbonara recipe

Creamy, delicious pasta

Growing up, I was spoiled rotten by my mom’s cooking. She made us amazing meals, from scratch, almost nightly. The food was so good that my brother and I would battle over leftovers, going so far as to sneak into the kitchen late at night to snag the last fajita or a serving of Moroccan chicken.

Carbonara was a lazy-night meal for my mom, and as I’ve spent the last years living on my own and then cooking for others, it’s become the same for me. Carbonara is fast and easy to prepare, but yields fabulous results every time. All you need is a little bit of pork, a few eggs, and cheese. There are fancy ways to make carbonara, but it’s just as good when you keep it simple. When I got some tasso – a Cajun cured ham – from Teet’s, it was a Thursday night and as much as I wanted to experiment, I really just wanted to get dinner on the table. So carbonara was an easy choice, especially when I thought of adding some Slap Ya Mama seasoning to the mix to complement the ham.

The sauce in carbonara results from scrambled eggs heating just enough to thicken. So pull your eggs out of the fridge to take off the chill before you do anything else. If they’re cold, they’ll take longer to thicken, and you might be tempted to turn the stove back on – not a good idea, as it will almost always end in scrambled eggs, not creamy sauce. (That has happened to me on more than one occasion. I eat it anyway – it’s delicious).

Teet’s Tasso Carbonara, as seen on 37 Cooks

  • 1/2 pound pasta, such as linguine or fettucine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces Teet’s tasso, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon Slap ya Mama seasoning, or other Cajun seasoning
  • Fresh salt and pepper to taste

Before you get started, do a little prep work: in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cheese, and Slap ya Mama seasoning. Set aside.

Set a large pot of water over high heat to boil. When it comes to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook until almost done.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium. Add tasso and saute until slightly crispy and fat has begun to render. Add garlic and turn the heat down to low.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with tasso and garlic. Toss for a moment so the flavors mingle, then take the pan off the heat. Whisking quickly, add the egg mixture to the pasta. Toss and stir constantly until the eggs have thickened into a creamy sauce. (If the eggs scramble instead, exhale and eat it anyway – it will be tasty, and you can try again some other time).

Garnish with black pepper and a little more cheese, then serve and enjoy.

smoked sausage and shrimp alfredo recipe

Creamy pasta… let’s just call it “carbo-loading”

Do you feel cheated? You’ve been coming to this blog and reading about exercise, salad dressing, training for races. And now, here you are, gazing at a photo of something so obnoxiously indulgent that just looking at it might make you fat. It doesn’t fit, does it?

Well, I have two words for you. Balance, and indulgence. Vegetables are great, but nobody can eat them all the time. Just make sure that when you slip up, it’s worth it. (Have you ever been suckered into eating something that’s simultaneously terrible for you and awful-tasting? I’m talking grocery-store-bought birthday cake for a coworker’s birthday. Awkwardly standing around the conference room, you have to eat a little slice just to be nice. But every bite is a chore, and you’re mad about it because the cake is dry and crumbly and completely canceling out the run you planned to do that afternoon. It doesn’t even taste like it’s worth those calories). (I think that was more than two words).

Through 37 Cooks and Teet’s Food Store, I got hooked up with some great smoked pork sausage. It’s a natural pairing with shrimp: the flavorful sausage lends smokiness to briny, fresh seafood. This is one of those meals that evolved because I’m carbo-loading for my next race. And because a creamy, cheesy Alfredo sauce needs to be on the menu at least once per year. How’s that for efficiency?

Don’t think of Alfredo sauce as something that you can only have at restaurants. It’s shockingly easy to throw together at home, and you’ll love the results. Seriously, if you can bring cream to a simmer and then stir in a few more ingredients, you can make this dish in ten minutes. Of course, parmesan cheese is the traditional choice, but with that big sausage flavor coupled with a little Cajun seasoning, you’ll have delicious results using milder Asiago, fontina, or any combination of those.

You’ll want to pay careful attention to the timing on this. I’d set out a pot of water to boil before doing anything else. When it’s hot but not quite boiling yet, begin warming the cream. If you time things right, you’ll begin adding butter to the simmering cream when the pasta has just a couple of minutes to go. After a little bit of whisking, you’ll be able to add perfectly al dente pasta to the mixture, stir in the cheese, and dig in. It’s so easy and delicious, I promise you’ll think twice about ordering that $18 alfredo pasta dish next time you’re eating at an Italian restaurant.

If you still feel guilty about eating this, just call it carbo-loading.

Smoked Sausage and Shrimp Alfredo
serves 3-4
Ingredients

1/2 pound fettucine pasta
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound Teet’s smoked pork sausage, sliced into coins
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Slap Ya Mama seasoning
4 tablespoons butter, cut into four pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Parmesan, Fontina, mozzarella), divided
Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it boils, add fettucine and cook until almost done – about eight minutes. Drain but do not rinse.
In a medium saute pan heated over medium-high, saute sausage coins until just crisp and a little bit of fat has rendered. Remove to a spare plate and reserve. To the still-hot pan, add shrimp and saute until just done. Put it with the sausage for just a little while
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, heat the cream with Slap Ya Mama seasoning until it comes to a simmer. This works best at medium heat. After little bubbles appear, lower the heat to just about as low as it gets. Add pieces of butter one at a time, whisking after each addition until fully melted and incorporated into the sauce. Turn the heat off completely. By this time, the pasta should be just about cooked – add it to the pot and mix it all up. Add most of the shredded cheese, leaving some for garnish. Stir it well to melt everything. Then add the reserved sausage and shrimp. Stir until everything is mixed well and heated through.
Serve topped with reserved cheese and, if desired, fresh-ground black pepper.