The last carbonara recipe you’ll ever need
Folks have nasty tendency to overcomplicate food, and the classic dishes are not immune to this, in fact they’re usually the most abused. Carbonara is a case in point. Basically used as a proxy for ‘pasta with cheese and bacon sauce’ you never know what you’re going to get when ordering this at a restaurant. But carbonara is a simple recipe that only contains pasta, eggs, bacon and cheese. No cream, no béchamel base, no mushrooms, no garlic, no, no, no. All that stuff just complicates this dish, they simply don’t belong. Yes, you may still end up with a decent dish, but you’re missing the point – carbonara in it’s basic form is an amazing dish you almost never get to eat! And it’s really easy, and very quick to make. Let me repeat myself lest you forget and reach for some double cream or something. ALL you need is:
- Pasta (I prefer Linguine, but Spagetti will do)
- 2 medium eggs
- A big handful of grated Pecorino (the classic recipes say Pecorino, but you can substitute with a decent mature-but-not-overly-so Cheddar if you want)
- A heaped tablespoon of Parmesan
- Streaky bacon or Pancetta (sliced into small chunks)
- Salt and pepper
- tablespoon of Olive oil
That’s it. “Where’s the cream?!” you scream. “How do I make it creamy?!” Carbonara is NOT CREAMY, that’s the point! If you want a pasta with a creamy sauce, then I can give you a recipe, but it’s not carbonara. Would you add a bunch of creme fraiche to you bolognese sauce? No, so hands off the cream. The egg in the pasta, if you follow the recipe correctly, will give you a creamy sheen, but there is no cream in the classic carbonara recipe, and it’s all the better for it. Here’s how you do it:
Prepare ALL ingredients as above in advance. This is very important as carbonara is very quick to make and timing is key.
- First, get your pasta on the boil with some salt in it. Yes, you heard me right, FIRST. Carbonara only takes as long to make as it takes the pasta to cook
- Fry off the bacon in a frying pan with the olive oil. You want to get it nice and crispy but not so done that you break your teeth on it
- While that’s happening mix the cheese and the eggs together then season this mix. Go easy on the salt as there’s already a load os salt in the cheeses, pasta and bacon
- When the pasta is done (al dente, get it right!) drain it and immediately put it back in the saucepan
- Put the bacon and all the oil into the pasta and muddle it around a bit
- Directly after (while the pasta is still piping hot) put the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta and quickly mix it all around (DO NOT do this over a heat source, or even on the hot ring, as the egg will coagulate and you’ll be left with pasta and scrambled eggs)
That’s it. Serve with a sprinkling of parsley.
Right, let me tell you what you’re thinking now: “did he really just put raw egg in pasta!? We’re all going to die!” Well yes, I did. This is how carbonara is made. Yes, eggs can contain salmonella, but if stored correctly then this is highly unlikely. In addition, if you followed the recipe, you put the eggs on piping hot pasta covered in burning oil – this cooks off the eggs thus annihilating all those pesky germs. You may want to consider giving your pregnant wife “pasta and with cheese and bacon sauce” instead if you’re feeling paranoid. But if you do so and try and pass it off as real carbonara I’m going to come round your house and kick your pet cat in the face (and any other pets I find). I may even call your grandmother a slag while I’m there, if you’re lucky.
This recipe (ie. the real and only carbonara recipe all other are fake and thus deficient) will literally dissolve your socks with delight (that’s right, while they’re still on your feet!)
Consume while listening to Ufomammut.