Prep: 20 mins
Cooking: 20 mins.
Rating: 2: Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!
So, where does the Carbonara name come from?
Well, it’s like in Cornwall, when the Cornish pasty was the miner’s meal break. In Italy, they had Carbonara. The ‘carbonara’ bit simply refers to the coal they hacked from the earth, so it’s the coalminer’s meal, taken down the mine and eaten cold. Dunno what they carried it in though – Tupperware wasn’t around then! See – not only do you learn how to cook, you also get a lesson in Italian social history and culture – that’s what I call good value in a book wot tells yer ‘ow to cook.
Now, after being super-impressed by this wonderful on-line publication…….
For 4 people, find:
- 400 g spaghetti, linguini… (or whatever pasta…..)
- Drizzle ofolive oil
- 1 or 2 large shallots, chopped
- 100 g pancetta, diced (or use smoked streaky bacon)
- 3 egg yolks (see Tricks’n’Tips for how to separate eggs).
- 50 g parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Generous pinch of grated nutmeg (if you have it – if not, don’t be so generous with it…..)
- A good amount of coarsely ground pepper
- Loads of chopped parsley (flat or curly-wirly)
- Large saucepan of boiling water
- Deep frying pan
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil (use the kettle….). Cook the pasta in the boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes until al dente – just tender.
- Meanwhile (yes, you CAN multitask), heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan and cook the peeled shallots and pancetta over a low to medium heat for about 10 minutes until golden.
- Separate the eggs, either using your fingers or by using a plastic egg separator fingy (see Tricks’n’Tips….), then whisk up the yolks with the grated parmesan cheese, pepper, chopped parsley and nutmeg if you have it.
- Put it aside, ready for the big moment when it all comes together.
- Drain the pasta but keep half a cup of the cooking water. Pop the pasta to the pancetta mixture in the frying pan and mix.
- Add enough of the pasta water to just make it a bit sloppy.
- Then chuck the whole lot into the cheese and beaten egg mixture and toss everything together using a couple of forks. The heat from the pasta will cook the egg mixture perfectly.
- Serve it immediately with a salad of some sort. Remember to sprinkle extra parmesan and black pepper on top.
(Then imagine that you’re down a deep coalmine in Italy…..)