Pizza Carbonara

Pizza Carbonara | Sarcastic Cooking

A few weeks ago Mike and I decided to be risky parents. We decided to live it up in the middle of the week. Yes, we dragged our four month old child out for a late dinner right before his bed time ON A SCHOOL NIGHT! I know what you are thinking, “Man, Stef, you live dangerously!”

I know. I am a real wild child. [Read more…]

Pea, Asparagus, & Spring Herb Pasta (gluten free)

So I feel like I am in a different world, state, or even city the past two days. It has been 55 in Chicago. In January. Did you hear me?!?!?! 55 IN JANUARY! What in the world?

I don’t want to be one of those people who always talks about the weather, even though I have kind of done that the last three posts. I know that talking about weather is the number one mistake in small talk and also means you have nothing real to say. But this is so weird!

This weird weather has me ready for Spring! I was outside today with my nieces and nephews without a jacket in my standard spring-ish apparel; jeans, t-shirt, and clogs. It felt so good.

I recalled a recipe I had bookmarked with a scrap of paper in my new all-time favorite cookbook, Keys to The Kitchen by Aida Mollenkampfor a spring-inspired pasta. When reading through the ingredients, I get a little weary of the list of acceptable spring herbs because, for a very long time, the only fresh herb I used was basil. I know I was missing so much. But truth be told, a long time ago I had a bad experience with fresh herbs… well I guess a chive is kind of an herb…

My mom tried to get me to like chives and asked me to take a whiff of the fresh smell chopped chives gave off. Me being the dummy I was, took a deep inhale and ended up with a chive or two up my nose!

My mom yelled at me, “I told you to smell not inhale them!”

Now it is funny and every single time I read chives in a recipe or even think of herbs, I remember that incident and smile, then keep my distance. Herbs are awesome and not to be trifled with.

This recipe allows you to use any fresh Spring herbs you like and toss in some peas, asparagus, and some cheese and call it a day ALL IN ONE POT!!! Well, aside from the pot you cooked the pasta in, so two pots!

So my weird weather friends, let’s enjoy this “heat wave” together and look forward to Spring!

Pea, Asparagus, & Spring Herb Pasta (gluten free)
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Recipe type: Entree/ Pasta
Serves: 6-8

  • 1 Pound Brown Rice Penne (or any other regular tubular pasta if you do not have a gluten free diet)
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Shallots, quartered and then thinly sliced
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1 Pound Asparagus, trimmed and cut into inch long pieces
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup Frozen English Peas
  • ⅔ Cup Grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Zest
  • 1 Cup Roughly Chopped Fresh Herbs, such as basil, chervil, chives, Italian parsley, mint, or tarragon
  • ¾ Cup Toasted Pine Nuts

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat, add pasta, cook for about seven minutes until tender.
  2. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. After two minutes, add the shallots and sauté for three minutes.
  3. Add the asparagus and garlic to the skillet. Cook until knife tender, about three minutes. Stir in peas and cook for two minutes. Season with a heavy pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. By this time the pasta should be done. Add the pasta using a small strainer right from the boiling water into the skillet, reserving the pasta water. Add a cup of the pasta water and cook for two to three minutes until sauce starts to coat pasta. Remove from heat.
  5. Add butter and cheese, mix. Add more pasta water if needed to keep pasta sauce loose.
  6. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, herbs, and pine nuts. Stir to coat. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with some more freshly ground black pepper and grated cheese. Pasta lasts in an air-tight container in the refrigerator three to four days.

(I swear to God if it snows tomorrow I am going to freak the flip out!)

Risotto Carbonara

I am not going to lie to you; cooking risotto is kind of like running a marathon. Well, I never ran a marathon, so I would relate it to long-distance running, which for me would be running a mile.

To some of you runner-types out there, that might sound pathetic. I agree with you. I am not a good runner. I find no enjoyment in it, I look like a fool, and about a block or two into running I get a cramp in my side and can no longer breathe through my nose.
I like walking. I like to walk for a long time. I like to enjoy a podcast or playlist on a brisk walk through some of the nice nearby neighborhoods. I can walk three to five miles and feel great afterwards. I just don’t think that my specific body was ever designed to be a runner.

I was in track in grade school because eeeevvverrrybody was in track. I ran in relays and was somehow put into the 400 meter. I think I maybe got third place, once.
In high school it was mandatory for all volleyball players to play another sport as a part of off-season conditioning, so I thought, well I did track in grade school, so I guess I should do that.
I think my memory of the tryout for track and field is a lot different than what happened in reality. My memory of the tryout is that we were all asked to run five miles in the gym (which, by the way, was not air-conditioned). In reality, it might have only been a mile, but who really knows. Anyway, we were asked to run a distance, which is foggy in my mind, at our own pace. We were timed and based upon when we finished, we were put into specific race distances.
Needless to say, I did not finish the run. I think the coach could tell I was not having fun. It must have been the “SAVE ME NOW” eyes I was giving him in between my belabored breaths. The coach pulled me to the side ad asked if I had ever thought about shot put and discus.

Sadly, I told him that I had actually done shot and discus in grade school. So it was decided that it made more sense for all 5’5” and 120lbs. of me to go up against girls twice my size in shot and discus, just so I did not have to risk my running ruining the chances for the team.
Seriously. Even though I am not good at running any distance, I still get the concept of running and find that it very easily relates to cooking risotto.
You take your time cooking the risotto, adding one ladle of chicken stock at a time, waiting for it to be absorbed, and then you add another ladle. You pace yourself, have patience, and trust in your cooking skills while making the risotto.
At the end of the risotto “race”, you need to kick it into high gear and add the prosciutto, peas, cheese and eggs quickly as to not overcook the risotto. You finish feeling nervous, sweaty, and like you gave it your all.
I may not be the best runner, but in the risotto race I could hold my own just fine!

Ingredients (Serves 4)
3 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
1 Cup Arborio Rice
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Slices Prosciutto, sliced into thin strips
4 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
½ Cup Frozen Peas, thawed
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup Freshly Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
½ Teaspoon Pepper
1 Handful Fresh Parsley, chopped

Pour the chicken stock into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once the chicken stock comes up to a simmer, turn the heat back to medium/low.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the rice to the skillet and cook until the rice has absorbed all the oil, about three minutes.

Take a ladle of the chicken stock and add it to the rice. Continuously stir the rice until all of the stock has been absorbed.
Once all the stock is absorbed into the rice, add another ladle full of stock. Continue this process of adding a ladle of chicken stock to the risotto for about 15 minutes.

After fifteen minutes, heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium/high heat. Keep a close watch on the risotto to make sure you do not miss an addition of stock.

Once the oil heats up, add the strips of prosciutto and cook until crispy, about three minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for two minutes. Then turn the heat of the prosciutto pan off.

Now here comes the sprint! Whisk together the eggs and shredded cheese. At this point turn the heat of the risotto to low. Add a ladle full of the hot stock to the eggs to temper it so the eggs do not scramble.

Add the peas, prosciutto, and garlic to the risotto; stir to evenly distribute. Slowly pour in the egg and cheese mixture. Stir until the risotto starts to stick together and the cheese sauce starts to come together, about a minute.

 Add the pepper and parsley to the skillet, stir to distribute. Remove the risotto from the heat and serve immediately.

Risotto does not reheat well, so it is best served right away with a little bit of fresh parsley and grated pecorino on top.

Phew! The race is over, the risotto is finished. Get yourself some water and take a break, you did great!
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