Spaghetti alla Carbonara

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I’ve come to love the taste of fresh pasta, but because I’m a touch on the gluten-insensitive side, I reserve it to just an occasional food fest. It’s enormous fun to make your own pasta from scratch – you really do feel justifiably proud as you’re eating your way through the results. So, if you haven’t made any before, and you’ve got a pasta machine stuck up in a cupboard somewhere, do challenge yourself to have a go.

It’s hilarious when you read all the blogs on Carbonara – how you absolutely, 100%, on pain of death, shouldn’t use cream when you make it, but personally I take all that with a grain of salt. If I prefer cream in my Carbonara then, damn it, I’ll use cream! And even though the great Delia, from whom I borrowed the recipe, uses cream in her version (and who would argue with her?!), I went for something just a tad more sophisticated – Crème Fraiche (mainly because I actually had some in my fridge). However, if you’d like to experience the true Italian version, leave the cream or Creme Fraiche out altogether and let the eggs do the talking. PS: It’s easy enough to omit the pancetta for a vegetarian version.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this and, it has to be said, scoffing it down afterwards. Yum, yum, yum.


SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA

Serves 2

Ingredients: (Click here for unit converter)

  • 225g dried spaghetti (or make your own pastajust halve the recipe on the post, using 2 small eggs & one cup of flour)
  • 150g sliced smoked pancetta (or bacon will do) – or leave out for vegetarian
  • 2 large eggs, plus 2 extra yolks
  • 4 tablespoons Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • 4 tablespoons Crème Fraiche (or cream, if you want to risk alienation and condemnation!)
  • A little olive oil
  • Freshly milled black pepper & chopped flat leaf parsley for serving

Method:

  1. First of all, cook the pasta (dried or freshly made) for 8-10 minutes in boiling salted water to which 1 teaspoon of olive oil has been added (when it’s done reserve about a cup of the water the pasta has been cooking in). Meanwhile, heat a frying pan and fry the pancetta (or bacon) without any extra oil until it’s crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Keep the pan aside.
  2. Next, whisk the eggs, yolks and Crème Fraiche (or cream) in a bowl and season generously with black pepper then whisk in the cheese.
  3. When the pasta is cooked, drain it quickly in a colander, leaving a little of the moisture still clinging. Add the pasta to the pan of pancetta (along with the oil in the pan) and give it a quick stir. If it needs a little extra moisture, add just a little of the pasta water – you’ll amazed at how much the starchy water will improve the texture. Now add the egg and cream mixture. Stir quickly, so that everything gets a good coating (the egg cooks as it comes into contact with the hot pasta), but don’t linger too long or the egg may start to scramble.
  4. Serve the pasta immediately on really hot plates. Grind a little black pepper over top, and sprinkle over some chopped flat leaf parsley for a bit of colour. Serve with some extra grated Pecorino (or Parmesan). Enjoy!

Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting

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3 thoughts on “Spaghetti alla Carbonara

  1. I’m not sure if my 1st message came through so I’ll try again. Is there a site that will help me convert the measurements into U.S. measurements? I really want to make this dish and try adding chicken.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Martha. Sorry about that.. your first message must have gone to spam. Take a look at these sites for measurement conversion: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/BritishEquiv.htm or http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/cooking/ . Otherwise, if you have a computer/Google, I usually just Google the words I’m looking to convert, e.g. ‘ounces to grams’ and a converter usually pops right up. Hope that helps. The other thing I want to say is that aside from the pasta itself, this recipe is quite forgiving. You can happily chuck in extra ingredients or alter the measurements somewhat and it will not do any harm. Absolutely, add chicken – it will make the meal more substantial. Enjoy.

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