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Remake pasta carbonara as a summer salad

The Associated Press
Pasta carbonara can be a salad as well as a hot dish.

Pasta carbonara -- richly cheesy, creamy and studded with crisped pancetta -- is easily one of the most comforting of pasta dishes. The only trouble is, with the onset of warmer weather we tend to crave salads more than steaming bowls of pasta. So for this recipe, we decided to have it both ways.

We borrowed the key ingredients from pasta carbonara -- right down to the eggy sauce and savory pancetta -- but remade them as a picnic-worthy pasta salad. Every bit as delicious as the traditional dish, but far more refreshing on a hot day.

And as with most pasta salads, this one is easily adjusted and added to. Sliced sun-dried tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers, even blanched asparagus all would make fine additions.

Carbonara Pasta Salad

Makes 8 servings. Start to finish: 30 minutes.

     16     ounces gemelli or rotini pasta

     9     ounces finely chopped pancetta

     1    cup fresh peas

     3    egg yolks

     3     cloves garlic, minced

     1     tablespoon Dijon mustard

     2     tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

     1     tablespoon lemon juice

     1/2  cup mild olive oil

     Salt and ground black pepper

     1    cup grated Parmesan cheese

     3     scallions, thinly sliced

BRING a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain well, then spread on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.

MEANWHILE heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crispy, about 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool. Add the peas to the skillet and cook just until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the pancetta and allow to cool.

For the dressing:

WHILE everything cools, combine the egg yolks, garlic, mustard, vinegar and lemon juice in a blender or in a medium bowl with a whisk. In a slow stream, add the oil, whisking or blending until thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

COMBINE in a large bowl, the cooled pasta, pancetta, peas, dressing, Parmesan and scallions. Toss well. For best flavor, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 560 calories, 270 calories from fat (48 percent of total calories), 30 grams fat (10 grams saturated, 0 grams trans fats), 110 milligrams cholesterol, 48 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 20 grams protein, 810 milligrams sodium.


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