This delicious spaghetti carbonara recipe is one of my all-time favorite of favorite of favorites. It was actually one of the very first recipes I ever shared on Gimme Some Oven. But I’m pretty sure that none of you ever saw it because the pictures were terrible. Like, horribly-over-lit, sitting-on-a-neon-blue-backdrop, smothered-in-way-too-much-Parmesan-cheese, not-appetizing-AT-ALL ter-ri-ble.
I’ve learned that this is a common dilemma amongst food bloggers. When we launch our blogs, we start by sharing tons of our best recipes right off the bat. But that tends to be when our photography skills are (ahem) not the finest. Years later, the recipes may still be in our rotation of favorites, but the photos?! Yeeeesh.
This past weekend, I had the privilege of traveling to Roanoke to gather with a bunch of food bloggers for the first-annual Mixed conference. I will be posting more photos and stories of the event soon. It was a total blast!
One of the highlights of the weekend came as a total surprise to me. My Roasted Vegetable Macaroni & Cheese ended up winning a midnight mac ‘n’ cheese contest sponsored by Dreamfields Pasta! I was more than a little shocked, and have no doubt that my face turned beet red as I walked up to receive the prize. But they were awesome, and even gave me a red sash, black feather boa and a little tiara. So fun! :)
When I was a kid, our extended family used to love meeting up for big dinners regularly at our neighborhood Italian restaurant, DeFazio’s. Everyone would order these huge steaming plates of delicious pastas, salads, sides and more. And Yours Truly would order…”plain spaghetti”. Oh yes. I was the token picky eater in the family. And no thank you, I did not want to “just try it”. ;)
Luckily, though, everyone at DeFazio’s always received a steaming bowl of minestrone soup as an appetizer. And over the years, I began to grow more and more fond of this yummy pasta soup, even though I would have had a small heart attack at age 10 if anyone had told me that there was zucchini snuck in there!
A few weeks ago on a rainy evening, I randomly bumped into an old roommate at Target. And, yes, pretty sure we were thosepeople who stood there right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of carts catching up on our life stories for an hour. It was so great to see her! But sure enough, when there was still more to share and the store was nearing closing time, the conversation came to — “We should do dinner!”
So this week we did! I invited some of the old crew to also come along, and we all spent an evening together at my place sharing a wonderful meal together, some of our favorite nostalgic wines from back in the day, and hours upon hours of conversation about the joys and answered prayers from the past year, some tearful honest moments about the lows, hilarious dating stories for better and worse, cheers over a new engagement, and endless hilarity and laughs. I love these friends!
As much as I enjoy the process of planning meals, and the anticipation that comes from researching a great recipe, shopping for the ingredients, and on and on….I absolutely LOVE spontaneity in the kitchen!! It always seems like such an accomplishment to dig throughout the cupboards and find the ingredients needed to quickly whip up something on the fly. (Especially when the result is successful!)
So when I was craving carbs this week, and randomly stumbled across this recipe in a Google search after arriving home from work, I was stoked to realize that — thanks to my overflowing garden — I had everything I needed to give it a go! So I put on some fun Italian opera music in the background (harkening back to my undergrad days!), and followed the trustworthy lead of Michael Chiarello. The best part is that I quickly learned that in addition looking classy and creative (love the julienned zuch!), the pasta tasted fantastic. And I should point out that the basil oil undoubtedly makes the recipe. I’d never made it before, but it was well worth the small extra effort. Would definitely recommend this one for entertaining (or sneaking healthy veggies into your kids’ pasta!).