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Classic Carbonara with a Spring Twist

June 26, 2013 | Frank Bonanno


I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Clear Creek Organics operation. The bounty Stephen Cochenour sent me away with –sugar and snap peas, bi-colored zuchini, spring garlic–inspired a spectacular dinner later that evening.

This spin on carbonara, one of my favorite pasta dishes, was so easy to execute (and so very satisfying to eat), I thought it well worth sharing. And because the fusilli is one of the most popular dishes on the Luca menu, that recipe follows, just for good measure.

Enjoy!  –Frank

Spring Carbonara

Serves 4


1 cup bacon (I usually use guanciale or pancetta, but bacon works nicely)

1 cup sugar snap peas

2 cloves garlic

1 zucchini

1 cup shelled peas

1 pound bucatini (or any thick spaghetti)

½ cup olive oil

1 cup parmesan

1 cup white wine

1 egg yolk

4 Tbsp butter

Salt & black pepper



Large pot; sharp knife; large, deep skillet; tongs; wooden spoon


  1. Fill a large pot 2/3 of the way with heavily salted water. Set over a high flame, and while you wait for it to come to a boil, do the cutting.
  2. (A quarter inch is a good size for the prep work here.) Slice bacon into ¼ inch bits; set aside. Cut the sugar snap peas into ¼ inch strips and give the zuchinni about a ¼ inch dice. Thinly slice the garlic. Use your fingers to toss the shelled peas into the prepared peas, garlic, and zucchini; set these aside as well.
  3. Drop pasta into the boiling water and cook per package instructions.
  4. While the pasta cooks, pour olive oil into your large sauté pan. Bring to medium heat, then toss in the bacon bits. Cook about 4 minutes (until crispy) stirring occasionally. Add garlic, cook 2 minutes more.
  5. Mix your vegetables into the bacon and garlic; cook 1 minute more. Stir in white wine and cook another 2 minutes.
  6. Reduce the flame to a low heat and stir in the butter. Salt and pepper to taste (I’m pretty generous with the pepper here, but be cautious about the salt, remembering that the cheese will impart additional saltiness in a moment here). Remove from heat.
  7. Add cooked pasta to skillet. Toss well. Stir in half the cheese and toss again. Drop in the egg yolk, and stir well to incorporate (yolk will gently cook with the heat of the pasta, thickening and enriching your sauce to beautiful flavor)


To Serve Divide dressed pasta among 4 bowls; garnish with remaining cheese.

Wild Mushroom Fusilli

Serves 4

 A note: This rich, creamy pasta has been a staple on the Luca menu since we opened. The complexity of the flavor profile is deceptively simple to execute.


5 ounces each: crimini, shiitake, and button mushrooms

2 quarts water

½ lb dried fusilli

3 Tbsp pasta water

3 Tbsp butter

2 cups heavy cream

2 Tbsp white truffle oil

1 tsp salt

½ pepper

¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (to garnish)

1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Tools Knife, large sauce pot. Large sauté pan; wooden spoon. Four pasta bowls.



  1. Slice the mushrooms. Set aside.
  2. Bring large pot of salted water to boil(four quarts). Cook pasta per package directions (reserve 3 Tbsp pasta water before draining).
  3. While pasta is cooking, melt the butter over medium heat. Toss in the mushrooms, cooking about 4 minutes, or until tender; stir in heavy cream. Continue to cook over medium heat until sauce is reduced by half.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Hold warm.
  4. Strain pasta (remembering to reserve 3 Tbsp of the water). Toss water, fusilli, cheese and sauce together with truffle oil.


To Serve Divide among bowls, topped with a bit of chopped parsley and a generous dusting of parmesan.