I was very pleased with this carbonara as I used to find I felt a bit ill after carbonara and hence rarely made it. This is Rick Stein’s recipe and I chose his because he is associated with wonderful fresh fish dishes so I thought he’s not going to make this too heavy!
Although, as with his recipe, it’s not traditional to add cream to carbonara (any more than it is with a chocolate mousse), I added just 1 tbsp double cream into the egg mixture and I only used 2 eggs as I did not have 3. Perhaps it is the parsley too which balances this rich dish out a little. This recipe is recommended! If you are a carbonara novice, make sure you warm the bowls, keep some of the liquid the pasta is cooked in and work quickly at the last stage, or you will get scrambled egg instead of a creamy sauce.
400g/14oz dried spaghetti
175g/6¼oz piece smoked pancetta, rind removed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
handful flatleaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
2 large free-range eggs, beaten
1 tbs cream
50g/1¾oz pecorino sardo maturo (mature Sardinian pecorino), finely grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring 4.5 litres/8 pints water to the boil in a large saucepan with eight teaspoons salt (I used one tsp! but probably less water). Add the spaghetti and cook for nine minutes, or until al dente.
Meanwhile, cut the pancetta into lardons (short little strips), about 6mm/1¼in wide.
Heat a large, deep frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the oil and the pancetta and fry until lightly golden. Add the garlic and parsley and cook for a few seconds, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Drain the spaghetti well, tip into the frying pan with the pancetta, garlic and parsley, add the beaten eggs and cream and half the grated pecorino cheese and toss together well.
Season to taste with a little salt and black pepper. The heat from the spaghetti will be sufficient to partly cook the egg, but still leave it moist and creamy. Take to the table and serve in warmed pasta bowls, sprinkled with the rest of the cheese and garnish with parsley.