As seen in our June 2014 Dinner Show, we are thinking outside the box this cherry season by topping carbonara with a cherry marcona almond salsa. This is a lighter version of carbonara by skipping the egg and using a lighter hand with cheese and bacon. If desired, bacon can be omitted or used for garnish on individual plates. Notice in picture we served it with a parmesan cheese crisp and grilled garlic toast (bruschetta).


  • 2 medium shallots, sliced
  • 1 head (10-15 cloves) garlic, sprout removed, sliced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or pepper oil
  • 1 bunch purple kale, tuscan kale (black or dinosaur), chiffonade
  • 1 pound thick spaghetti or linguini, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 heavy cream, reduced and warm
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated fine
  • 4-6 slices American bacon, sliced and rendered crisp, well-drained of fat
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sheep's milk ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 cups cherry marcona salsa (see recipe)


In large stock pot bring 1 gallon of water to boil with 3 tablespoons of salt. (Chef’s note: ratio salt to water may change for smaller amounts of pasta.)

Meanwhile place wide bottomed saute pan on med-high heat. When hot add EVOO to cover bottom. When oil shimmers a little, add shallots and garlic and chili pepper flakes. When translucent and soft, add purple kale.

Meantime, drop pasta and cook until al dente. Drain into pasta serving bowl to warm it up. Remove water from the bowl and add the cooked pasta, reduced heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Add sauteed shallots and garlic. Mix. Add bacon, parsley and lemon juice. Toss well.

If plating individual serving plates, place pasta onto center of plates. Top with a medium quenelle of sheeps milk ricotta cheese and some marcona cherry salsa with a sprinkle of coarse salt (Blue Sky Sea Salt) Serve with garlic bruschetta.For the June dinner show we placed the pasta atop a bed of fresh arugula for extra texture, nutrition and flavor. But it is good without too!

Total Time: 30 minutes
Recipe Yield: 4-6


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