Traditional carbonara is pasta smothered in cholesterol: bacon, cheese, and egg yolks. Grimes indulges us with all three ingredients, but in reduced quantities that flavor the dish without bloating it. She throws roasted Brussels sprouts and wilted rainbow chard into the mix, which add good-for-you fiber and vitamins. And, it turns out, Brussels sprouts and chard are absolutely delicious when kissed with carbonara sauce. My daughter declared her dinner “too good to be healthy,” which is the sort of tween verbal eye roll that is simultaneously maddening and spot-on.
As written, the recipe is a bit higher in sodium than I like. If you share similar concerns, reduce the amount of salt in your pasta water to just a pinch, and cook two, not three, pieces of bacon. Speaking of bacon, feel free to substitute turkey or vegetarian “bacon” for the pork. These reduced-fat options may not yield enough grease to roast your Brussels sprouts. If so, add a drizzle of heart-healthy olive oil to your mini cabbages and carry on.