Weeknight Dinner Idea – Tortellini Carbonara [RECIPE]
If it's a healthy meal you're looking for, stop reading now, because this isn't it. However, if it's a rich, hearty, and delicious meal you can throw together in about 30 minutes in one skillet on any given weeknight, then by all means, continue on.
One of my family's favorite meals is a recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara we found in a Schnucks Cooks magazine I picked up shopping one day several years ago. The cream sauce mixed with the saltiness of bacon, the crunch of peas, and the earthiness of mushrooms is a flavor combination that makes my mouth water just talking (or typing) about it.
But after years of making it the same way over and over again, we decided to tweak it a little bit. My family is also big fans of cheese tortellini which can be found in the frozen section of nearly every grocery store. One night a few weeks back as we enjoyed a simple meal of tortellini with spaghetti sauce, one of us, thinking out loud, said, "I bet this would be good in that Carbonara recipe we like." As the rest of us let out an audible, "Oooooo, that does sound good," I made a mental note to include it on a future grocery store run.
Again, "healthy" is not a word I would use to describe this dish. "Delicious" definitely is. So if calories aren't something you concern yourself with, get ready to whip up a dish I think will become a favorite in your house too.
- 1 - 16 ounce bag frozen cheese tortellini
- 12 slices of bacon, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup grated Parmesan or Parmesan-Romano cheese,
- 3/4 cup frozen peas (more or less to taste)
- 8 ounces white or baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons thinly chopped chives (optional)
Cook tortellini in large pot according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water until cool to stop cooking process, and set aside.
In a large skillet (12-inch diameter if possible) over medium-high heat, cook bacon to desired doneness (I prefer mine a little on the chewy side). Add chopped garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds, stirring consistently.
Remove skillet from heat and carefully drain as much bacon fat as possible.
Return skillet to medium-high heat and add heavy cream until mixture starts to simmer, stirring constantly to prevent burning (be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all those good bits of flavor off the bottom!)
Add Parmesan Cheese and mix until it melts.
Stir in mushrooms, peas, salt, and pepper until entire mixture starts to simmer. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and chives (if you're using them). Using a spoon, add a scoop or two of the cream mixture to the eggs to temper them.*
*Simply dumping the cold egg mixture into the cream sauce all at once could cause the egg to cook like scrambled eggs. Adding a little cream mixture slowly raises the temperature of the egg to prevent that from happening.
Remove the skillet from heat and stir the the entire tempered mixture into the cream sauce.
Add tortellini and stir to combine. The temperature of cream sauce will bring the now cooled tortellini back up to heat so you're not biting into cold pasta.
Serve in bowls with a side salad and garlic bread, and enjoy!