Spaghetti Carbonara is one of my absolute favourite, fall-back meals. By that I mean a meal that I can whip up in minutes with ingredients I have in my fridge/freezer with guaranteed success. It’s a really simple pasta but delivers big on flavour and ‘mmmm’-factor.
Because this pasta is so simple however, it is necessary that you use only the very best quality ingredients you can get your hands on/afford. I suggest using dry cured, smoked streaky bacon, free-range eggs, strong Pecorino and the freshest cream possible. It’s also important to note that I am by no means an ‘authentic’ cook who sticks to traditions when I’m busy in the kitchen. I like to add ingredients to my food that I enjoy and so, I use cream (which is a no-no to a lot of people) and garlic in my sauce. Of course you could omit these and the sauce would still be delicious but I am under the impression that pasta needs garlic and since it’s me eating the finished dish, I add them.
Also, traditionally Guanciale or Pancetta is used but since it’s not readily available in SA (and quite expensive when you do find it), I suggest using good quality bacon. If the thought of raw eggs freak you out, remember that you are going to toss the hot pasta and bacon with the cream & egg sauce which will effectively cook the egg. It is not necessary for you to place the pan over heat as this will make the eggs ‘scramble’ and the sauce will split. You can trust me on this though, I am not a fan of that raw egg taste and with this, there is none of that.
250g dry cured, smoked streaky bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 free-range eggs
125ml (1/2 cup) cream
1 cup grated Pecorino cheese
freshly cracked black pepper
large handful chopped Italian parsley
500g spaghetti/linguini, cooked and drained (reserve 1 cup of cooking water)
- While the spaghetti cooks, make the sauce.
- Fry the bacon in a large, non-stick frying pan until starting to go crisp ( I prefer not to use any oil/butter when frying the bacon as it contains so much fat already). Add the garlic and fry for another minute or two and remove the pan from the heat. Set aside.
- In a jug/bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, Pecorino, salt & pepper.
- When the spaghetti is cooked, toss it with the bacon (and all it’s cooked-out fat) and the cream mixture until the pasta is coated with the sauce and the sauce has thickened slightly. If the pasta looks dry, add some of the reserved cooking water.
- Adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve scattered with chopped parsley.