I love the end of summer in Northern Utah, otherwise known as harvest season. I can simply walk out to the garden to find fresh fruits and veggies to spice up an evening meal, and I find myself wandering further and further out into the neighborhood to barter with my neighbors – tomatoes for peaches, cucumbers for cabbage, red peppers for blackberries.
Even if you aren’t the gardening type, the Ogden Farmers Market offers a delectable selection of fresh goodies, as does the famous “Fruit Stand Strip” along Highway 89 from Perry to Brigham. My personal favorites are Tagge’s in Perry and Nielson’s at 2055 Hwy 89 in Brigham City. So many foods! Raspberries, apples, potatoes, carrots, green onions, perfectly ripened tomatoes and more. (And if you’re new to O-town, I’ll let you in on a secret. The local peaches this time of year are divine.)
So a couple weekends ago it was a lazy Sunday afternoon and I’d made zero plans for dinner. I opened my vegetable drawer and surveyed my selection. I had on hand cherry tomatoes, zucchini, fresh mushrooms, and from my garden I’d plucked one smallish red pepper.
Eyeing the leftover bacon from breakfast in the meat drawer, I Googled the ingredients and came up with an idea- Veggie Carbonara. My family and I are suckers for pasta, and though the recipe I found (and modified) called for cooking the veggies in bacon fat- I figured if the kids actually ate them it’d be worth the extra calories.
It turned out amazing! I love how the egg-based sauce was slightly crumbly, and the tangy flavor of the fresh tomatoes and zucchini was the perfect complement to the creamy texture. My secret for getting my girls to try new pastas is always topping it with Mizithra- which is a salty Greek cheese. I get mine in the deli at Lee’s Marketplace.
The kids ate every bite, and the hubs even took the leftovers for work the next day. Hands down, the best dinners are the ones I make with local products, especially during harvest season.
Veggie Carbonara Pasta
6 oz bacon (about half a package)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Parmesan
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground oregano
1/3 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup fresh red pepper, diced
¼ cup fresh zuchinni, diced
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or regular tomatoes cut into small wedges)
½ lb whole grain pasta, cooked per package directions
¼ cup fresh parsley
½ cup Mizithra cheese
1- Fry the bacon in a pan until crisp, drain on paper towels, break into small pieces and set aside (save the grease)
2- Whisk the eggs, cream, Parmesan, salt and pepper and oregano together in a bowl. Set aside.
3- Saute the mushrooms, red pepper, and zucchini in the bacon grease for 5-7 minutes. Once soft, add the cherry tomato halves. Stir until warmed.
4- Drain the pasta and while still warm, add the vegetable mixture and cream. Stir over low heat for two minutes.
5- Dish onto plates and garnish with bacon crumbles, parsley and cheese. Enjoy!
Best thing about making pasta? You can throw in whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. If you make this, I’d love to hear what veggie and cheese substitutions you used!