Zoodle Carbonara with Saffron and Fried Salami
Saffron Carbonara over Zucchini Noodles with Salami Bits and Pimientos
Carbonara is a creamy Roman pasta dish with a disputed creation backstory. The most prevalent historical theory is an anecdote that revolves around coal workers, with the dish being created by and for them. Traditionally, this salty comfort food was made with cured pork cheek or pancetta. Though, for many variations of the recipe, there has been an evolution to smoked bacon—likely because it is more readily available. Whisked eggs and cheese provide the creaminess and though the sauce is most often tossed with spaghetti, the style of pasta does not make the dish.
So, while you may come across folks who believe themselves to be “carbonara purists”, there really is no one true carbonara. Renditions range from additions of squid ink and peas to chicken and tomatoes and just about everything in between. As such, I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty for perking the sauce up with a bit of sweet cream, hard salami, pimientos, and saffron. Nor will I apologize for tossing it over zoodles rather than pasta (but if veggie noodles don't cut it for you, by all means, use the real thing).
Zucchini Noodles Tossed in Saffron Carbonara
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- ¼ cup warm water
- 8 ounces thick-sliced bacon, cut into ½-slices
- 3 ounces hard salami, sliced in ¼-inch rounds
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3-4 large zucchini squash, spiralized
- 5 egg yolks
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces pimentos
- ¾ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 4 ounces grated asiago, plus more for topping
- Soak the saffron in the warm water for at least 20 minutes
- Using a small pan, grill the salami over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side.
- Cut the salami into small cubes.
- In a large skillet, fry the bacon until crispy.
- Turn the heat to low and add in the salami cubes.
- Add the garlic and thoroughly combine.
- Stir in the zucchini noodles, coating with the bacon grease.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, briskly whisk together the saffron mixture, egg yolks, eggs, salt, pepper, and heavy cream.
- Use a double boiler to cook the sauce, whisking continuously to avoid scrambling eggs.
- Pull from the double boiler and mix in the cheese, pimientos, and the parsley, reserving some for garnishing.
- Slowly pour the mixture over the zucchini noodles, consistently tossing to incorporate, still taking care not to scramble the egg mixture.
- Continuously toss over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened
Top with remaining parsley, asiago, and fresh cracked pepper. Pile on a plate and serve alongside a refreshing salad.
Your creations are only as good as the ingredients you use, make sure you choose high-quality saffron! For this recipe, we used this Sargol-Cut Persian Saffron.