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  • Melissa Orquiza

Spring Green Pasta Carbonara, Birthdays, Brahms, Beatles, Anne-Marie, & The Sugarcubes

Barefoot Contessa's Spring Green Carbonara. It's the weekend! A perfect cheat day indulgence!

Spring Green Carbonara, Birthdays, Brahms, Beatles, Anne-Marie, & The Sugarcubes

I LOVE going to birthday parties. I love the cake, the balloons, the awkward conversations, the kid-induced mayhem (and alcohol- induced disasters by the adults). As much as I enjoy attending parties, I always felt a bit of an out of body experience when celebrating my own.

Growing up during the war, my grandfather, not wanting my mother to be spoiled, did not make a big “to-do” of her birthday. My mother’s side of the family had fled to the mountains, while my grandfather, a dermatologist, tended to a leper colony in order to flee the occupations. That decision ensured my immediate family’s survival. So, to make a long story short, we enjoyed birthdays growing up and it consisted of the most important things in life: food, close friends, and family, sitting around a dinner table, laughing at each other and in life in general. Gifts were limited and also, optional.

So, I’ve had some pretty wild birthdays, but mainly low-key, intimate ones, which honestly, I much rather prefer. This year, I’m hoping for a long run, a nice shower, sleep, pasta, and maybe even a book or yoga outside (of course, working around my husband and daughter’s schedules). Every day, I try to do something that scares that crap out of me but it takes a toll. So for every small win, here’s to celebrating. I hope this inspires you to take care of yourself and celebrate every amazing day, month or year. Here’s to celebrating the small and big wins.

In case you want to celebrate your everyday wins, here’s a great list for “birthday pampering.” I’ve done almost EVERYTHING in the food suggestions. (I’ve never had an entire bottle of champagne to myself. I’m already about to puke after one drink…)

How To Pamper Yourself

Here’s the Beatles’ “Birthday.” I think the first time I heard this, I was 10 and wondered “What the heck is this, can I play the piano like that, is that a guitar?” I had a very sheltered childhood.

The Beatles - Birthday

Yes! Everyone wants to celebrate their birthday like this. I love big beats as much as I do pampering…

Anne- Marie - Birthday

I’m experiencing: a strange hallucinatory trip/nostalgia for Bjork/ and a compulsion to watch Rick Steves.

Sugarcubes- Birthday

At the same time I heard the Beatles’ “Birthday” I first heard Brahms Piano Trio No. 1. I fell in love. (I still have the piano part somewhere… ) I grew up listening to EVERYTHING Ashkenazy and Harrell’s Shostokovich, so I was overjoyed to see this. This is only the first movement. If you can, please try to listen to all the movements. Heaven.

Piano Trio No. 1 in B Major, Op. 8: I. Allegro con brio

Thanks for reading! I hope this inspires you to pamper yourself, enjoy that occasional plate of pasta, and possibly inspire you to try something you've always wanted to do. Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

Spring Green Carbonara. Here's to living little and enjoying yourself!

Spring Green Spaghetti Carbonara

by Ina Garten, from “Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook”

Serves 6


Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 oz. spaghetti, such as De Cecco. (We used fettuccine because that’s what we had.)

1/2 lb. snow peas, julienned lengthwise

1 cup shelled fresh peas (1 the pod) or frozen peas

12-14 thin asparagus, bottom third discarded and tips slices in 2 in pieces

2 Tablespoons good olive oil

8 oz. small-diced pancetta

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 extra-large eggs

2 extra-large egg yolks

3/4 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

5 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced diagonally

1/4 cup minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

zest and juice of 1 lemon


1. Bring a large pot fo water with 2 Tablespoons salt to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reserve a cup of the pasta water, then add the snow peas, fresh peas, and asparagus to the spaghetti and cook for 2 minutes longer. Drain the pasta and vegetables together.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium (10-11 in) saute pan over medium heat, add the pancetta, and cook for 7 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Transfer the pancetta to a plate lines with paper towels and set aside.

3. While the pancetta cooks, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water and set aside to heat the bowl. Just before you drain the pasta, pour the water out of the bowl. Put the cream, eggs, egg yolks, and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water in the bowl and whisk to combine. Immediately, add the hot pasta and vegetables and toss with tongs for a full minute or two, until the pasta absorbs the sauce.

4. Add enough reserved hot pasta water to keep the sauce creamy. Add the 3/4 cup Parmesan, the scallions, chives, lemon zest and juice, 1 Tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and toss well. Add the pancetta, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot sprinkled with extra chives and Parmesan.

#springgreenspaghetticarbonara, @ingarten, @barefootcontessa, #moderncomfortfood, @beatles, #beatlesbirthday, @annemarie, #annemariebirthday, @sugarcubes, #sugarcubesbirthday, @brahms, #brahmspianotriono1, @vladimirashkenazy, @lynnharrell, @itzhakperlman

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