pasta carbonara with spring vegetables

This is a family favorite at my table. I call it pasta primavera. My children call it green pancetta pasta. It's really just a carbonara (although with pancetta and parmesan instead of guanciale and pecorino) with English and sugar snap peas, spinach and green garlic added. 

The origin of pasta primavera is disputed and contentious. But we know that it was popularized by a 1977 article by Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey in the New York Times which included a recipe for the beloved off menu special at Le Cirque, a celebrated French restaurant in Manhattan. As the story goes, the French chef at Le Cirque refused to make this nouveau number in his kitchen, so Sirio Maccioni, one of the restaurant's owners, decided to prepare it in the dining room, tableside. My version doesn’t resemble the dish that subsequently infiltrated Italian-American restaurants in the 80’s, which contains broccoli, asparagus, green beans and tomatoes bound in cream and parmesan. 

I always have some diced pancetta in my fridge. It's perfect for making a carbonara.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, render half a pound of diced pancetta in a large pan. If it needs a little more fat, I add some olive oil. To that add a sliced green garlic stalk (the white and light green part.) I then add English peas, then sugar snap peas cut in half or thirds on a bias, and finally some spinach leaves. I sautee all this just until the pancetta is rendered but not too crispy, the green garlic is tender, the peas are cooked but still snappy, and the spinach is just wilted. 

Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup Parmesan cheese (or a combo of farm and pecorino) and 2 eggs; while whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in a quarter of the reserved pasta water until smooth. Add hot spaghetti and stir in more reserved pasta water until it is creamy. Add in the pancetta and vegetables. Season with salt and a ton of black pepper. Toss to combine, and serve immediately.