January 17, 2013 by twodogjam
The English are not generally renowned for their ability to cook Italian. But my first experience of cooking spaghetti alla carbonara was from my first cookbook: the 1983 version of The Dairy Book of Family Cookery (I’ve seen this book described as ‘collectable’ and ‘vintage’-I didn’t think I was that old!). I still use this recipe-with some minor modifications-as it’s fail safe. I just wouldn’t cook it for an Italian…..
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 4-6 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped into small pieces (use more or less bacon depending on how much you like)
- 1/3 cup of cream (and if you don’t have any fresh cream, the long-life variety is a good replacement)
- 1 egg
- Small handful of freshly chopped parsley
- Olive oil
- Enough Spaghetti pasta for two
- Good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper (I don’t add extra salt because I think the bacon makes it salty enough)
In a bowl, beat the egg and cream with a little freshly ground pepper and the parsley.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti pasta in a saucepan of fast boiling salted water. Cook according to packet instructions.
When about 8 minutes remain before the pasta is cooked, add a little olive oil to a heated frying pan and fry the bacon until crisp. Keep moving the bacon around the pan while frying so the bacon is evenly cooked (and not burnt).
When pasta is cooked (needs to be tender, not soft), drain the pasta, keeping aside some of the pasta water. Immediately add the drained pasta to the crispy bacon. Keeping on the heat, cook the pasta with the bacon for 1 minute, stirring all the time.
Remove from the heat, and add the egg mixture to the pasta. Add a little (only a splash) of the reserved pasta water to the pasta and mix well. The heat of the spaghetti will cook the egg.
Add the grated parmesan cheese to the pasta and mix. You can add a little more reserved pasta water (stir to mix in) if you want a slightly runnier sauce-but don’t add too much otherwise it will taste of pasta water. This is where you experiment to get the consistency you like.
Serve immediately. Add more parmesan cheese and/or seasoning to your liking.