Green Eggs & Ham and I go way back. Well, to childhood, obviously. But in terms of my cooking story, not quite that far.
During my first few years out of college, friends of mine would host an epic party for Hoboken St. Patty’s Day. For those non-New Yorkers who are not used to hearing about record breaking arrests for public urination the following day: Hoboken St. Patty’s takes place a week or so before the actual holiday, and it always lives up to its reputation for being a sh**storm.
Anyway, said guys would host a morning pregame for 50 or so of their closest friends, complete with Irish coffee, mimosas, and my scrambled eggs. For two years running, I did a play on green eggs and ham. One year was English muffins with scrambled eggs, arugula pesto, and prosciutto. The following year, I don’t have a picture of that final dish and lost too many brain cells to remember what exactly it was. Last year, my friends finally decided we were all too old for this, and I got to sleep in and cook nothing. Joy.
This year, in the most adult way possible, I tried to reinvent my play on green eggs and ham in this grown-up pasta dish. There’s zucchini and chives, crispy prosciutto, eggs, and loads of Parm. More importantly, you can wash it down with wine instead of whiskey and Bailey’s.
It’s been a while since I played the carbonara card, and I was reminded how freaking delicious and easy it is. The perfect pantry dish. Make sure to buy extra prosciutto for snacking. It always seems to disappear from the package as the first batch is crisping on the stove. But maybe that’s just in my apartment.
Hope you have fun uber-Irish things planned for this weekend. If the day gets wild, just remember there’s a bathroom inside.
Pasta Carbonara with Zucchini and Crispy Prosciutto
Makes 4 servings
8 ounces prosciutto
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 pound short shaped pasta (I like fusilli, cavatappi or orecchiette for this)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or grana padano
1/2 cup snipped fresh chives
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
2. In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of olive oil over a medium-high flame. Once the pan is hot, add the prosciutto in an even layer (you’ll have to do this in batched) and fry until crispy on both sides, about 2 minutes total. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels, and repeat with the remaining proscuitto. Once cool enough to touch, crumble the prosciutto into rustic bite-sized pieces.
3. Add the zucchini to the pan, along with any necessary additional olive oil – the pan will need a light coating. Pan-fry in an even layer until golden brown on both sides, stirring once or twice. Season with salt and set aside.4. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.
5. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg and half the cheese. Temper the eggs: slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of pasta cooking water to thin the egg mixture and raise the temperature. Drain the pasta and immediately add to the egg mixture, tossing until the sauce clings to every strand. Add the zucchini, prosciutto, and half the chives and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary.
6. Divide the pasta among four plates, or transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the remaining cheese and chives.
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