Friday, 30 March 2012

Spaghetti Carbonara

I must have hundreds of recipes for Spaghetti Carbonara, but this is the one I always use. The book it comes from automatically opens up at the page this recipe is on - that's when you know you've got a winning recipe.

I have no idea which story to believe when it comes to the origins of this dish. One theory has it that it was made by Italian wood cutters who made coal for fuel. Another is that the copious use of coarsely ground black pepper resembles coal flakes. And yet another, that Allied troops distributed military rations consisting of powdered egg and bacon which the local's used with water to season dried pasta.

However it came to be, this is classic comfort food best eaten in your pyjamas.

Spaghetti Carbonara
from Loukie Werle's Italian Country Cooking

2 large, very fresh eggs (or a double yolker if your hens are as clever as mine)
60g freshly grated parmesan,  plus extra for sprinkling
60ml extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large red chilli, finely chopped
125g pancetta, chopped
500g dried spaghetti
freshly ground black pepper

Combine the eggs and parmesan in a small bowl, whisk until smooth and set aside.

Combine the oil. garlic, chillies and pancetta in a small frying pan and cook over a low heat until the fat from the pancetta has rendered down. Don't let the garlic get too brown.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling, well salted water. Drain, reserving a mug of the cooking water. Empty the pasta into a large heated bowl. Immediate pour the hot contents of the pan over the pasta, then without delay, the eggs and cheese. Toss well. Use some of the reserved water if the pasta looks a little dry. It should be lovely and slippery with the egg sauce. Serve straight away with extra grated parmesan and loads of freshly ground black pepper over the top.

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