I love creamy pasta sauces. But it is rare to find a restaurant that does them justice. Most places I’ve visited treat pasta and sauce more like a soup with pasta in it and that’s just not cool! I want al dente pasta lightly dressed in a rich sauce (maybe I must go to Italy….oh Ben…?).
Anyway, it’s unlikely I’ll be going to Italy anytime soon and inspired by my friend Ffion who always makes me delicious pasta but has abandoned me to go to Turkey, I decided to try my hand at my own simple pasta dish.
Despite spending very little time in Italy, my experience of good Italian cuisine us that it is incredibly simple but relies on good ingredients treated with care. To try and honour this I made a carbonara in as traditional a way as I could find from reading the history around this great dish, using the best ingredients.
3 eggs – large and free range.
75g parmesan – grated finely – the nicest you can afford, with few ingredients it’s worth the extra expense.
100g piggy goodness – this could be bacon/pancetta/ham, I used smokey back bacon from Martin over at Cure Deli – best pig stuff in Cape Town – check it out.
1 cup of the salted pasta cooking water – remember to save this!
Cook your bacon/general pigness in a little olive oil until crispy (use a large frying pan big enough to hold your pasta too). Whilst the pig is cooking, cook your spaghetti (6 minutes in salted, boiling water) and beat the eggs in a large bowl with the parmesan and some black pepper. Cook the spaghetti until just shy of al dente then add to the bacon pan, removing the pan from the heat. The rest of the cooking will be done using the heat of the pan. Take a cup or so of the pasta water and add half to the bacon/pasta pan and half to the egg/parmesan – mix well to bring the egg mix up to a warmer temperature. Add the egg mix to the pasta/bacon pan and stir well so the pasta is coated. Taste, add more parmesan/pepper if necessary and serve.
We had it with an oakey/buttery chardonnay – seems to work well with the smokey creaminess of this dish.