Have you heard of cowboy caviar? It's a thing. I've never really tried it, but it's a lot like this salsa, which is fabulous. What's Gaby Cooking has several versions, including vegetarian cowboy caviar, cowboy caviar quinoa, and cowboy caviar chopped salad. They all look delicious, but it's the catchy name that really stuck with me.
So today I had bacon, pasta, and three pattypan squashes that my mom gave me (aren't they the prettiest squashes ever?). I wanted to make some sort of pasta carbonara, but I didn't have any parmesan. I came up with this version using cheddar cheese and called it cowboy carbonara. My boyfriend laughed at me, but he ate seconds. No cowboy can resist.
I think it might even be fun to add some black beans, tomatoes, and avocado here. Everything goes with pasta, bacon, and cheese, right? Go crazy. I was also going to add cilantro but I froze it in my fridge AGAIN. Fail.
Ingredients (serves 4):
4 slices bacon
1 pound pasta (I used orecchiette)
2-3 pattypan squash, zucchini, or summer squash, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
2-3 scallions, sliced, plus extra for garnish
4 ounces freshly grated sharp white cheddar cheese, plus extra for serving
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the bacon in a large dry skillet over medium heat until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels. Once the bacon cools, roughly chop it.
Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package directions. Drain, reserving one cup of the cooking water.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the grated cheese.
Pour off all but one teaspoon or so of the bacon grease, and return the pan to the heat. Add the squash and cook for about ten minutes, until tender. Add the corn and saute for another 2-3 minutes until heated through. Stir in the scallions and chopped bacon and reduce the heat to low.
When the pasta is done, add it to the skillet with the vegetables. Add the egg and cheese and cook, tossing with pasta water to thin out the sauce as needed, for 2-3 minutes. This is to make sure the egg gets cooked. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve hot, with additional cheese and/or scallions on top.
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