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The Good Egg

Spaghetti and Vegetables, Carbonara-Style

This recipe substitutes three popular vegetables — carrots, cauliflower and green beans — for the meat in traditional spaghetti carbonara. Wine, not usually an ingredient in carbonara, adds flavor that is lost when the bacon is omitted.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, bruised with the side of a knife
¼ cup dry white wine
1 pound spaghetti
Kosher salt
2 cups 2-inch lengths green beans
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1 cup slender carrot sticks (about ¼ x 2 inches)
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream, at room temperature
(or use the pasta cooking liquid)
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a deep skillet that is large enough to contain the cooked spaghetti and vegetables, melt the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Stir in the wine, bring to a boil and boil until reduced by half. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Add the vegetables and boil until spaghetti is al dente and the vegetables are tender, 4 to 6 minutes more.

3. While the pasta and vegetables are cooking, whisk the eggs and milk or cream in a bowl until well blended. Set a colander in a serving bowl in the sink.

4. Drain the pasta and vegetables in the colander and immediately lift out of the bowl to drain off almost, but not quite, all the water. Add the pasta and the vegetables to the skillet. Stir in the egg mixture and the grated cheese and toss vigorously so that the eggs cook through in the heat from the steaming pasta but do not scramble.

5. Dump out the water from the warm bowl; blot dry. Immediately add the spaghetti mixture. Add a liberal grinding of pepper and serve at once with more cheese.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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