Thursday, September 23, 2010

rocco dispirito's whole wheat spaghetti carbonara

In an effort to get his health back on track while training for a triathlon, Rocco DiSpirito set out to re-vamp his favorite gourmand dishes by seriously cutting the fat and calories, without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. Enter his cookbook, Now Eat This. No easy task, of this I am sure. But somehow Rocco seems to have accomplished this by using a few "magical" secret ingredients like replacing butter and cream with Greek yogurt and subbing whole wheat pasta in for regular. Whether you see them as secret ingredients or common sense (I'm leaning towards the latter), is entirely subjective, but I will commend him on his efforts. Because the other night, I gave his Whole Wheat Spaghetti Carbonara a shot.

To lighten this dish up (the original version has over 51g of fat, Rocco's has 7g!), he uses evaporated skim milk and "real" bacon bits--two ingredients that not only have I never even thought about purchasing but ones I looked at quite skeptically. Alright, skeptically? I was nearly horrified. Bacon bits in a jar? Evaporated-wha? And while I do trust Rocco (hello, Top Chef judge), I couldn't commit to the mysterious jarred bacon bits. Instead, I opted for turkey bacon. Another first time purchase for me that brought me great excitement. Arguably too much excitement. And once cooked, great joy. That turkey bacon has found a new cozy home inside my freezer.

So you sauté a thinly sliced onion, you add in a whole bunch of garlic, the crumbled bacon, the cooked al denté whole wheat spaghetti, and then you shut off the heat. In goes a combination of two egg yolks whisked into the evaporated skim milk and you toss, toss, toss. With vigor! And then you sprinkle in a healthy handful of grated parmesan cheese and you're done. Yup. You're done. I couldn't help but top mine with some chopped flat leaf parsley (because that's just what I do) and then I couldn't wait to dive in with my fork. I was hovering over that pan like a crazed woman who hadn't seen food in days.

It looked creamy. Luxurious. Silky and sensual. Glossy. And as for the taste? Rocco, my man, it's pretty damn good.

My only complaint is that perhaps carbonara is not the best recipe to be matched up with whole wheat spaghetti. The nuttiness of the whole grain pasta was competing with the delicate flavors of the sauce. And so next time (and there will be a next time), I'm going to give it a whirl with some regular spaghetti. Or better yet, some unruly bucatini.

And no one, and I mean no one, will ever know the difference.

For Rocco's recipe click here.


Ingrid Leess said...

Your photo looks good enough to stick a fork into!!! Glistening pasta always makes my mouth water... and never would have guessed that Rocco's book was a healthy choice!!! Thx for tip!!

Doug Leess said...

Oh man!!!!

oak dining table said...

I am really glad that I came up with the hobby of trying every pasta dish I see. Love this one. Delicious.


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