The spaghetti carbonara is an Italian favourite, it's great for using up eggs and can swap in some ingredients to suit vegetarians!
100g pancetta (I have used bacon which works just as good)
50g pecorino cheese (I have used normal cheddar before and it still tastes great)
3 large eggs
350g spaghetti (I have used tagliatelle which also works great)
2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
50g unsalted butter
sea salt and ground black pepper to season
1. Put a large saucepan of water on to boil, if you use a lid it will boil much faster and use less electricity.
2. Finely chop the pancetta, having first removed any rind.
3. Finely grate 50g pecorino cheese and 50g parmesan and mix them together.
4. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl and season with a pinch of ground pepper.
5. Add 1 tsp salt to the boiling water*, add 350g spaghetti and when the water comes back to the boil, cook at a constant simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until al dente.
6. Squash the garlic cloves with the blade of a knife, just to bruise it.
7. While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the pancetta with the garlic. Drop 50g unsalted butter into a large frying pan or wok and, as soon as the butter has melted, tip in the pancetta and garlic.
8. Leave to cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, un til the pancetta is golden and crisp. The garlic has now imparted it's flavour, so remove it using a slotted spoon.
9. Keep the heat under the pancetta on low. When the pasta is ready, lift it from the water with a pasta fork or tongs and put it in the frying pan with the pancetta. Don't worry if a little water drops in the pan as well, you want this to happen.
10. Mix most of the cheese in with the eggs, keeping back a small handful.
11. Take the pan of spaghetti and pancetta off the heat. Now quickly pour in the eggs and cheese. Using the tongs or a long fork, lift up the spaghetti so it mixes easily with the egg mixture, which thickens but doesn't scramble and everything is coated.
12. Add extra pasta cooking water to keep it saucy (several tablespoons should do it). You don't want it wet, just moist. Season with a little salt, if needed.
13. Serve onto a plate or bowl and sprinkle the remaining cheese and black pepper.
*If you prefer to not waste the water, do not add salt.
- Swap pancetta for mushrooms and/ or courgettes for a vegetarian alternative
- If you haven't added salt to the boiling water, you can use the leftover water to water the plants in your garden. Water which pasta has been cooked in is full of starch, which is often rich in vitamins and minerals - great for helping to grow plants and flowers
- Keep the egg shells on the side, see my previous post