Pasta Carbonara is truly a very simple dish. It is what I call a one pan dinner, fast and easy to make. I will often make a carbonara if I get in from work late at night – 15 minutes, job done! But there are many arguments over what is a true carbonara, the biggest of which is whether to add cream or not. It is said that a true carbonara will not have cream and will only use egg and egg yolk to make the sauce, but I must admit I tend to add some cream.
At the time of writing this we are all affected by the coronavirus pandemic which is keeping many of us at home and we are being forced to cook for ourselves more than we are possibly used to. I am sharing this recipe because it really is simple but there are a couple of common mistakes that people make which means you could end up with scrambled egg and pasta. The idea is that your pasta should look silky, shiny and inviting. The other beauty of a carbonara is that you can add all sorts to it – please don’t tell the Italians!!
Pasta Carbonara: Here’s what you need
For 2 people;
250g (approx) of your favourite pasta (spaghetti, tagliatelle, fusilli, penne…….)
200g bacon lardons
1 clove garlic
75ml dry white wine
75ml double cream
2-3 egg yolks beaten. If you want a lighter sauce use 1 whole egg and 1-2 yolks.
As I said above a classic carbonara does not contain wine or cream but this is my version and I add both just to make it slightly more moist but the idea is for it not to be swimming in sauce.
Cook your pasta according to the instructions, drain it, rinse it under cold water and put to one side.
Re-using the same pan, add a splash of olive oil, the garlic and bacon. Get it cooking, add the wine, let the wine reduce by half, add the cream, bring it all to the boil and stir the pasta into the sauce.
Once the pasta is fully mixed with the sauce take it off the heat. The pasta will absorb most of the sauce. Let the pasta cool for a couple of minutes before adding the egg yolks. If the pasta is too hot when you stir in the egg you will end up with pasta and scrambled egg!
Variations to try
I normally add chopped chorizo sausage. Try adding mushrooms or go completely vegetarian with mushroom, pepper and courgette. Stir a spoonful of pesto through the sauce, basically season and flavour as you wish.