Well hello there! It has been so long since I posted that it took me three tries to remember my password for my website! Between having my second baby, going back to work, and then this COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve just forgotten about this poor blog. I’m still cooking and I often share my cooking on my Instagram stories, but I just haven’t had time to perfect and post any recipes.
However…..I made this recipe and shared it on my Instagram stories the other day and received so many comments on it. Further, my husband declared that “this was the best pasta ever, better than in any restaurant”, so of course I have to document the recipe so that I can add it into my repertoire.
Another reason why I love this recipe is that I usually have all of these ingredients on hand! I mean, in today’s pandemic, I do not like going to the grocery store unless I absolutely have to.
Tip #1 : For the bacon, buy a maple smoked bacon or maple glazed bacon. That maple flavour is key to pairing with the carrots. Any type of bacon will do, but the maple will take it to the next level.
Tip #2: As always, buy a brick of Parmesan and grate it yourself!
Tip #3: Don’t skip out on the arugula garnish. The peppery taste of the arugula, paired with the maple smokiness of the bacon, and the creamy sauce is what makes each mouthful of this pasta so decadent.
Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Handful of arugula leaves
Salt and pepper
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add oil and bacon. Cook, stirring frequently until almost crisp, about 5 mins. Add onions, carrots and garlic, and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the 2 tbsp of cream and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your spaghetti according to the package instructions. When it is done, using tongs, remove pasta from the water and add it to the carrot/bacon mixture in the pan.
Take 1/3 cup of the pasta water and set aside for it to cool a bit.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/2 cup parm and 1/2 tsp of black pepper. Whisk in the 1/3 cup of pasta water. Add the sauce into the pasta mixture and toss it over low heat for a minute or two, until the sauce is creamy and coats the pasta. Remove from heat and season with more salt and pepper.
Garnish with a handful of arugula and some more parmesan and enjoy immediately!
Does anyone else have a super picky toddler? I swear, all my daughter wants to eat is scrambled eggs, toast with peanut butter and jam, pears, nectarines, yogourt and pasta. And not just any yogourt, but the Paw Patrol yogourt. And not just any pasta – it has to be the tubed ones like rigatoni or penne. I try to sneak in veggies wherever I can – I scramble her eggs with chopped up spinach and I try to sneak in some veggies in her pasta dishes, but she usually just picks around them and just eats the pasta. Her daycare teacher tells me that she eats very well at daycare, but I find that hard to believe. Or maybe she enjoys eating with the other little kids, who knows. All I know is that dinnertime is such a hassle with her. My husband and I certainly don’t want to eat pasta every day, so what I end up doing is making a big pasta dish for her every other day, so that on the day that she’s eating leftovers, my husband and I can actually eat something else for dinner!
This broccoli and cheddar pasta is her absolute favourite and she would eat it every day if I let her. When she sees me plating it up, she is grabbing at my leg, pointing, yelling “pasta, pasta!” , and can’t wait to sit down at the table to devour it. I don’t mind making this for her often because it is easy to make and takes only about 20-30 minutes. I sneak the broccoli in there but she just picks around it. I don’t mind though, because I like to eat all the broccoli out of it while she eats all the pasta. Win-win! I also like that you don’t have to cook your broccoli separately. I just cut it up into small florets, rinse them and leave them in the strainer. Then, when my pasta is done cooking, I drain my pasta through that same strainer. The boiling water from the cooked pasta will cook the broccoli just enough to turn them bright green but still retain some crunch.
I like to use Bothwell medium cheddar cheese for this recipe, but feel free to use marbled, mild or strong cheddar. I find that the medium adds just enough bite and flavour without being too bland or too overwhelming. I grate the cheese using the biggest holes on my grater – it just helps the cheese melt faster and more evenly. I use up the entire 170g block of cheese and you can often find these on sale at Safeway for about $4.99 for a small block.
I highly recommend this recipe for picky eaters. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I’ll be making this again in the next few days so follow me on Instagram if you want to see the play by play on my Instagram stories!
Approx 500 grams of pasta (I buy the 454 gram boxes or packages of penne or rigatoni)
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups of whole milk
1 cup of half and half cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into small florets
170 grams of medium cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Chop your broccoli into small florets, rinse and leave in the strainer.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook your pasta according to the package instructions; drain with the same strainer that the broccoli is in
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.
Add in the flour and whisk for about 1 minute until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in milk, cream and Dijon mustard until it thickens, about 5 minutes. If you feel it is too thick, add in a little bit more milk. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in pasta, broccoli and grated cheese until well combined, about 5 more minutes.
Upon review of my recent posts, I have come to realize that I have a pasta problem. My last five posts have all been pasta recipes. Pasta is such a crowd-pleaser in our home that it’s my go-to meal for most weekdays. If both my husband and I are working, then I will whip up a pasta dish when I come home from work. If my husband is on days off and I’m working, then he’ll BBQ steaks or kebabs (is it kebabs or kabobs?) with grilled veggies and potatoes. On weekends when I’m off work I do more involved recipes, such as something Vietnamese or roast beef or roasted chicken or I experiment with new recipes for content on this blog.
Since we are eating so much pasta, I like trying different types of pasta to mix things up a bit. My favourite is the mafalda corta that I mentioned in my bolognese recipe. Penne and bowtie are okay, but I’m not a fan of spaghetti or linguine. If a recipe calls for a longer strand type of pasta, then my absolute favourite is pappardelle. For this recipe, I decided to try orecchiette because I like the way it sounds and because I found a bag of it at Save-On Foods one day. (I’ve never seen orecchiette at Safeway). Orechiette comes from the Italian word ‘orecchia’ meaning ‘ear’ and ‘etta’ meaning small because ,well, the pasta is shaped like small ears.
I added broccolini to this recipe because like most moms, I’m trying to get my toddler to eat more vegetables. It didn’t work, by the way. She just picked out the pasta and sausage bits and left all the broccolini on her plate. Oh well, at least I got more vegetables in my diet. Broccolini is similar to broccoli, but it has smaller florets and long thin stalks. It’s almost like a broccoli / asparagus hybrid. It has a sweeter flavour than broccoli, is super high in Vitamin C, and is so versatile in recipes. I’ve sauteed broccolini with beef or chicken in an Asian stirfry before, but this time, I decided to boil them and add them to this pasta. You can find broccolini in the produce aisle of your grocery store, and they are often packaged in a tray and wrapped in plastic, like this:
For some added protein and flavour, I used a package of Johnsonville mild Italian sausage. If you aren’t feeding your kid this, I would recommend buying the Johnsonville hot Italian sausage. I think that would add more flavour to it.
And as always, remember to use real Parmesan cheese and grate it yourself!
1 package of Johnsonville Italian sausages (I bought the mild flavour)
2 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
salt and pepper (to taste)
500 g bag of orecchiette pasta
1 package of broccolini, trimmed and cut into small florets and 2-inch stalk pieces.
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, with extra for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the Italian sausages with a fork (so that they won't explode!) and place them on a foiled sheet pan. Roast for 20 minutes in the oven, turning once, until just cooked through. Slice them into 1/2 inch coins and set aside.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven). Add the sausage slices and saute for 5 minutes until the pieces are browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste and salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil and then let simmer on low heat while you prepare the pasta and broccolini.
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
In the last 3 minutes of the pasta cook time, add the broccolini pieces in with the pasta and finish off cooking for 3 minutes.
Drain the pasta and broccolini and add to the tomato and sausage mixture.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.