Rice v. pasta

My first job was waitressing in an Italian restaurant.

The things I remember most about it were never remembering which way the coffee machine dial turned off (no-one ever told me ‘righty-tighty’), the embarrassment of returning to a table where I’d just been to admit that I’d just forgotten what they’d just ordered and one really busy night, after a quick loo break, running through the kitchen back into the restaurant with the back of my skirt tucked into my stockings.

Generally then, it’s safe to say that I was a crap waitress and the whole experience was vaguely traumatising.

For years afterward I didn’t touch pasta. And if I was held at knifepoint and ordered, “you must choose only one main meal carbohydrate for the rest of your life” I would happily marry rice and leave pasta, cous cous and potatoes behind forever.

Perhaps it’s karma then, for all the incorrect orders that I took, that my kids love pasta. I think nearly every kid in the whole wide world does. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that if your kid hates the stuff, they are weird. WEIRD.

Nutritionally, there’s nothing in pasta to get excited about. I’ve even seen it called BAD CARBS. Well said. Mind you, white rice falls into that category too so I guess my argument for rice is baseless and quite prejudiced. Did I mention that my kids don’t care about any of that and that they still LOVE PASTA? They do.

And so it’s been sneaking back into the house over the last few years. It’s still only once a fortnight or so, but now even I am a bit partial to a bolognaise or smoked salmon, dill & lemon or this spaghetti carbonara. On the scale of smuggling success, it’s fairly low, there’s little room to hide anything, but I still cram in spring onions and long strips of zucchini which just meld in(to the bacon fat).

It’s worth sharing, as it’s pretty much the only dish I’ve trialed this year that resulted in TWO EMPTY BOWLS, which is my version of THREE HATS, only better, cause there’s nothing to scrape before stacking the dishwasher.

vegie smugglers spaghetti carbonara

The pasta will win tonight.

Spaghetti Carbonara

3 eggs
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
400g spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
250g bacon, rind removed, large areas of fat removed, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
6 spring onions, sliced
2 zucchinis – use a peeler to slice into thin pieces, then cut vertically so that you have long spaghetti-like strands (whether you leave the skin in or discard it is up to you and what you need to do to get your kids to eat it).

Whisk the eggs in a small jug, mix through the cheese. Set aside.

Now do two things at once…
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook spaghetti according to packet directions. Drain, drizzle over half the olive oil and mix through (tongs makes this easier).

2. Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan, add the bacon and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the spring onions, garlic and zucchini and stir until the zucchini starts to wilt (about 2 minutes).

Return the drained pasta to the saucepan, pour over the vegies and use the tongs to mix a bit, then pour over the egg & cheese mixture. Combine quickly, season and serve, topped with optional parsley, pepper and extra parmesan.

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9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    michelle Riley said,

    It’s official, i always knew they were, I have weird children. They do not like pastas and basically i think they are the fussiest children on earth. They don’t like sauces or food that touches each other (like my favorite one pot wonder). HO HUM. Thanks for your entertaining blogs!

    • 2

      wendyblume said,

      oh, michelle, I’m so sorry to be the one to break the news to you that they’re weird! Will they eat meatballs, with no sauce, not touching anything? Try the lamb & feta meatballs – delicious, and with some zucchini and carrot to boot. x

  2. 5

    Jen T said,

    I’m more of a lurker than a commenter but this has to be said – how is it that you have access to both the contents of my fridge and my mind? Not only do I have a box full of sad little plums that desperately need to be turned into the plum tart from the other day, but I have been craving spaghetti carbonara all week! However it is that you do it- thanks!

    • 6

      wendyblume said,

      funny! maybe we shop at the same supermarket chain (like about 3/4 of Australians) buy the same stuff on special each week. I haven’t got anything planned for next week though. Any requests? I was thinking maybe congee?

  3. 7

    Holly said,

    This has cheese in it so it’s not dairy free… Or did you find a dairy free Parmesan?

  4. 9

    Pip said,

    Yum! I did this with white onions instead of spring onions cause I thought the kids would tolerate them better, added mushrooms (not a hit with the kids!) and light evaporated milk. Will definitely do again. Thanks


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