Cook: Spring time carbonara

Cook: Spring time carbonara

I’m not big on carbonara… or most creamy pasta sauces for that matter (unless it’s a proper mac & cheese, then I can be swayed), I always opt for tomato-based, especially if there’s a heaping of chilli like in an arrabiata… but the other day I was swayed. The picture of this particular carbonara in the September edition of Delicious magazine had me drooling, so I caved and bought half a dozen eggs.

Of course, I adapted the recipe a little. For instance, they called for asparagus, but I couldn’t source any on the day so opted for broccolini, which was going cheap that week… and I added extra parmesan cheese. There’s never too much parmesan cheese.

This recipe says it serves four, but honestly I’d say it ended up being closer to six serves, which makes it perfect for a crowd because it’s easy to throw together and once you work out cost per serve, is excellent value.

So how’d I do it?

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 150g pancetta (alternatively: prosciutto or bacon), chopped
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 eggs plus three extra egg yolks (don’t chuck those spare whites though!)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 400g spaghetti, linguine or other long pasta
  • 1 bunch asparagus or broccolini, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/2 bunch flat leave parsley, leaves picked
  • Cracked pepper

Method

  1. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat, cook the pancetta and onion until pancetta is crisp
  2. Add garlic and cook for a further minute, or until fragrant. Take off the heat, set aside
  3. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks into a large bowl, add half the parmesan and combine
  4. Cook pasta according to packet instructions then drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water
  5. Add pasta, pancetta/onion mix, broccolini/asparagus and the remaining 1 tbs olive oil to the egg mix and toss well to combine (have the tossing utensils ready to go or you risk your egg curling – although don’t worry if it does a bit, it’ll still taste amazing)
  6. Season generously with pepper, add the rest of the parmesan cheese and parsley and if need, loosen the whole thing with some of the reserved cooking water (it’s important to use the cooking water because of the starch content)