In Season: Easy-Peasy Quasi-Quinoa Carbonara

Posted at 5:00 AM Nov 12, 2009

By Kathleen Willcox

bacon fat grease one.jpeg

There are few dishes that balance comfort, softness, bite, creamy richness, zest and delectable star-bursts of distinct but cohesive flavor profiles as compellingly and simply as spaghetti carbonara.

Sadly, there are also few dishes that deliver as violent an unadulterated saturated fat wallop--the blooming onion  makes the bacon, butter, cream, egg and cheese-packed starch-fest look like a dainty cholesterol-conscious nibble.

It's hard to resist spaghetti carb's siren song, though - so I've come up with a semi-healthy response when she calls, and I know I need a bite of down-home, molten, mamma mia goodness - and I've only got 15 minutes to spare.

Recipe: Easy-Peasy Quasi Quinoa Carbonara
Serves 4

2 strips bacon, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ C yellow onion, minced
1 1/3 C quinoa
2/3 C milk (whole or 2%)
¾ C water
1 C frozen peas
Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ C Parmesan, grated
1 T basil, minced (or 1 tsp dried)


    • In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, gently render the fat from the bacon without cooking it through - watch it carefully--minced bacon burns faster than my butt-white skin on a Florida beach in July.
    • Add the garlic and onion when you have the lard a-poppin, add a dash of salt and cook til' translucent.
    • Add quinoa, coat the grain in fat, cook til fragrant, about 1 minute.
    • Toss in the peas, red pepper flakes, more salt, generous grinds of pepper!
    • Add water, then milk. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer.
    • Cook on high simmer uncovered for about 2 minutes, than clap a top on the pot and cook on a low, low simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. (Check after 10).
    • Taste and adjust seasoning.
    • Toss with basil and grated cheese.
    • Eat and enjoy!


    Wendy said:

    Yes! Quinoa. Brilliant.

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