Sounds weird, I know. I’ve had this recipe filed away in my mental recipe box for months now. Every time I brought it up in the past, Nick would give me this look and say “So it’s just pasta? With a fried egg?” in such a way that eventually discouraged me from pursuing it.
So I was very surprised one day last week, when, while assessing the contents of our still-not-fully-operational fridge, Nick asked me, “didn’t you have some pasta-fried egg thing you wanted to try?” Seizing on what was surely a rare opportunity, I agreed to make it the next night for dinner with the caveat that I add something to liven it up a bit.
A trip through the produce section of the supermarket the next day proved somewhat fruitless. I had hoped to find some mustard greens, dandelions (I have yet to try them but am quite curious), or even arugula or spinach, but they were sorely lacking in the fresh greens department. (Spaghetti with fried eggs and lettuce doesn’t sound the slightest bit appealing, does it?) As I meandered through the aisles, searching for inspiration, I came to the realization that I had everything I needed for a great pasta dish at home. Contemplating the pasta and fried egg concept, I recalled that I had seen it referred to as “poor man’s carbonara.” Further reflection dragged up some memory of peas in carbonara dishes. Well, I have a bag of frozen peas that need to be used… but what else can I put in there to make it more seasonally appropriate? A quick mental scan of my pantry revealed some fresh rosemary and a jar of dried porcini mushrooms. Now we’re talking!
This is a perfect dish for busy weeknights. Fast, filling, infinitely variable – I will certainly be turning to pasta and eggs for future emergency dinners. I started rehydrating the mushrooms and boiling water for pasta, and 20 minutes later I had dinner!
The eggs were fried in a rather large amount of garlic-infused oil, just like the original recipe. I threw the peas in with the pasta, timing it so they would be done at the same time, and meanwhile chopped up the rosemary and mushrooms. I saved the mushroom soaking liquid to adjust the consistency of the final dish, which turned out to be necessary as the runny egg yolks combined with the oil to create a thick, rich sauce.
For future reference, four eggs, when combined with the pasta and other ingredients, is a lot more than two people can eat for dinner. Not that we didn’t enjoy trying.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.