Creamy Salmon Carbonara with Mustard-Bourbon Candied Bacon {and a giveaway!}

I teamed up with my friends at Saucy Mama to bring you this recipe. They provided product for testing and are offering one lucky Life As A Strawberry reader their very own collection of Saucy Mama products to try! Read through the end of the post for giveaway details. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Creamy Salmon Carbonara with Bourbon & Mustard Candied Bacon

I could never ever ever ever ever live without pasta. (My next sentence was going to be a list of things I maybe COULD live without, but then I had a lot of trouble coming up with a food I could live without that wasn’t brussels sprouts, so we’ll leave it at I could never ever ever ever ever live without pasta but also without anything that is not brussels sprouts. Or gin. I really hate gin. But we’re getting off track here).

Creamy Salmon Carbonara with Bourbon & Mustard Candied Bacon

There are some days that I want pasta but don’t want to go overboard, so I do things like lighten up cream sauces or leave out the cheese or (GASP) eat it with a side of SALAD.

Today is not one of those days.

Creamy Salmon Carbonara with Bourbon & Mustard Candied BaconCould you lighten up this pasta recipe? Sure. Totally. But I prefer to reserve it in all its cheesy, creamy glory for those special days when you’re fancying something more decadent. Somethinggggggg…with cream. And bacon. And also salmon. And while we’re at it let’s mix it up with a little mustard and throw some bourbon on top. Today is pasta with a side of carbs with a side of cheese with a side of food coma. And I’m loving it.

Creamy Salmon Carbonara with Bourbon & Mustard Candied Bacon

This is a pretty simple creamy carbonara recipe when you get right down to it. Yes, I knooooooooow I added things that are not in a traditional carbonara, but I love the twist on this classic. The candied bacon adds a pop of sweetness to the dish, and the smoky, spicy flavor of mustard and bourbon comes through just enough to be interesting without overpowering the sauce. Basically, I am obsessed and ate almost all of it. By myself. For breakfast. Because I love you guys. #Sacrifice.

Creamy Salmon Carbonara with Bourbon & Mustard Candied Bacon

Now for the giveaway! One lucky reader will win a set of three Saucy Mama products – and the best part is that you get to choose which products (excluding olives) you want! I’ve worked with this company many times now, and I’m such a fan of their mustards/sauces/etc. – they’re delicious, sure, but you can also pronounce every ingredient in their sauces. EVERY SINGLE ONE. No piles of chemicals or questionable additives – just real, normal, find-them-in-your-own-pantry ingredients. Love love love.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me about YOUR favorite decadent, indulgent recipe! You can gain extra entries by using the Rafflecopter box (below) to like/follow Life As A Strawberry and Saucy Mama on Twitter! Contest is open through 11:59pm on Friday, June 5  to adults 18 and older who are currently living in the U.S. Winner will be randomly selected and notified via e-mail.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Creamy Salmon Carbonara with Mustard & Bourbon Candied Bacon

Creamy Salmon Carbonara with Mustard-Bourbon Candied Bacon
YIELD: Serves 4
  • 4 strips thick cut bacon
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. bourbon
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 6 oz. wild salmon
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. bourbon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ lb. spaghetti
  • 1 cup peas
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Toss bacon, brown sugar, bourbon, and dijon mustard together in a small bowl until all ingredients are combined and bacon strips are evenly coated with the mixture.
  3. Lay bacon in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes until bacon has caramelized and cooked through. Remove cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Once bacon has cooled a bit, give it a chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  1. Whisk dijon mustard, brown sugar, bourbon, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.
  2. Brush mustard mixture over salmon and bake at 400 F for 12-15 minutes until cooked through. Halfway through the cooking time, brush an additional coat of mustard mixture over the salmon.
  3. When salmon has cooked, let it cool for a minute then remove any skin and cut salmon into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  1. Cook spaghetti in very salty water until al dente. Just before the spaghetti is done, add peas to the hot water so they cook as well.
  2. While the spaghetti cooks, whisk eggs, parmesan cheese, cream, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. When spaghetti is al dente, reserve ½ cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta. Whisk two tablespoons of the pasta water into egg mixture to loosen it a bit and start the cooking process, then return pasta to pot and slowly pour the egg mixture into pasta, stirring constantly. Work quickly - you want the pasta to still be hot as you add the egg mixture so it cooks the eggs! Keep stirring pasta for a minute or so to ensure eggs are cooked. If the sauce is too thick, toss in a bit more pasta water (I add a couple of tablespoons at a time) to loosen it up.
  4. Add chopped bacon and salmon to pasta and stir to combine. Serve immediately and top with parsley and extra parmesan cheese for garnish.
If you're nervous about the eggs getting cooked, no worries! Leave the eggs out of the sauce but follow the rest of the directions as written, then top each serving of pasta with a poached egg. Break the egg and stir the pasta up when you eat it to get the same creaminess!


Roasted Red Pepper Baked Ziti

I realized today that the only recipes I’ve shared this year have pretttttty much been pasta, pizza, or things with hollandaise. Have I ruined your New Year’s diet resolution? I’m sorry. But not THAT sorry, because when you eat this roasted red pepper baked ziti you’ll totally forgive me and we’ll all be friends again. (Also, there’s no cream in this recipe! See? HEALTH CONSCIOUS, BAM).

Roasted Red Pepper Baked Ziti

This is a great make-ahead dish: I divided a whole batch into a few individual baking dishes and stored them all in the fridge so I could have baked ziti on demand this week. Grad school classes started again on Wednesday (umm, yuck) and I’ve been in something of an black shopping hole this week picking out new things to help me organize my kitchen and get my cooking life back on track. I can’t wait to show you guys all the fun things I’ve found to help spruce up our teeny tiny apartment kitchen on a broke-grad-student budget! (If you’re interested, you can follow along with #StrawberryKitchenReno on Instagram). Maybe next I’ll “renovate” my closet, since right now my closet is basically a pile of clothes on the floor. BUT BACK TO THE POINT: having ready-made, easy-to-heat up meals has been great this week with all the chaos. [Read more…]

Healthier 30 Minute Chicken Spinach Alfredo

ALFREDOOOOOOO. Is there anything better than pasta that’s drowning in butter and cream and cheese and more cheese? I think not. Is there anything worse for that New Year’s Diet Resolution you’re pretending to keep? Probably also not. But hey, I’ve got you (and our TOTALLY REAL, no-I-have-NOT-been-binge-eating-this-pizza 2015 diet) covered.

Healthy 30 Minute Chicken Spinach Alfredo

I lightened up this creamy, cheese-y sauce by nixing the cream altogether and instead using a roux with skim milk. Chicken and spinach add some protein (and other probably-important nutrients, blah, blah) and some color to the mix, and finally we thin the sauce out a bit by recycling some of our nice, starchy pasta water. Creamy? Check. Something green? Check. Hearty and filling? Check. Ready in less time than it takes to accidentally-on-purpose watch JUST ONE MORE EPISODE of Revenge? YOU BETCHA. Lightened-up, still-creamy, even-has-spinach-so-it’s-basically-health-food, 30 minute pasta Alfredo. [Read more…]

One Pot Spicy Tomato Pasta

UGHHHHHH THIS PASTA. I can’t stop eating it.

One Pot Spicy Tomato Pasta

I genuinely do love all the recipes I share here (otherwise I wouldn’t share them with you, duh). But every one in awhile, a real, true, HUMDINGER of a recipe comes along that makes me seriously question how I made it this long in life without it. Like this pizza. Or THIS pizza. Or this soup! Or this other soup! Or, more to the point, this One Pot Spicy Tomato Pasta. That you can totally make in about 30 minutes. Because OMG. [Read more…]