Classic Carbonara You Have To Try

14 02 2011

No one seems to know the exact origin of Spaghetti Alla Carbonara – spaghetti, coal miners style. There are lots of anecdotal options, such as that it was literally the favoured fare of coal miners; or that the black pepper bits resemble coal flakes; or even that after WWII allied troops in the war-ravaged Italian countryside used powdered egg and bacon rations to season their pasta.

Whatever its origin, I have always thought Carbonara was exquisite in its simplicity. Demure, humble, and just quietly going about its business of being one of the most iconic Italian dishes known to man. It really has no reason to brag, because its reputation precedes it. So much so that I think many people don’t try it at home very often, because the risk of the eggs scrambling puts a lot of people off. But it shouldn’t. And here’s why and how…

There are just so many things right about this – to start with, I pinky promise you that it takes as long to cook as boiling the pasta does. It’s far from fussy. And when you’re done you’ll have a plate full of subtly flavoured, literally lip-smacking creamy eggy-bacony deliciousness…

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara
Serves 4 | Preparation time 5 minutes | Cooking time 10 minutes

2/3 packet pasta (long ones like spaghetti / linguini are best)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 250g packet bacon, chopped (I use kitchen scissors, much faster)
2 Tbsp white wine (optional)
2 eggs, whisked
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (I’ve also used gruyere before)
2 Tbsp cream (I am going to try fat free yoghurt next time)
Half tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of freshly ground salt and pepper
Handful fresh chopped parsley

1. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
2. In a separate pan, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and fry the bacon until lightly golden then pour in the white wine and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
3. In a jug, whisk together the eggs, cheese and cream.
4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, keeping a quarter of a cup of the starchy cooking water, then tip the pasta into the pot with the bacon. Make sure the pot is not on either of the hot stove plates you have been using (you don’t want the egg mixture to scramble so it can’t be too hot!); pour in the egg mixture and stir everything together until the pasta is well coated.
5. Sprinkle over the nutmeg, salt, pepper and parsley and serve.

*Delicious with toasted crusty ciabatta with pesto and goats cheese or just plain butter.
Rob’s Rating on this was 8.25/10
(Can you tell he takes his job as official taster very seriously? Getting technical these days!)




2 responses

17 02 2011

Carbonara is one of our most favourite dishes – the kids find it a bit rich but G and I love it!!!

17 02 2011

One of my favourite go-to meals for busy weeknights. 🙂

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