Spaghetti carbonara is one of those super-quick and easy to make suppers that uses just a few ingredients and tastes sublime. The secret to dishes like this is that the individual ingredients must be of very good quality. Pancetta not bacon, good quality spaghetti not supermarket ‘value’ varieties, Parmesan (made of cow’s milk) not cheddar (or any other cheese except perhaps Pecorino which is made of ewe’s milk) and finally, most importantly…..very good, organic, free range eggs. My lovely neighbour Gill keeps chickens that provide the most beautiful golden yolked eggs. When I look out the back door and see an egg box on the garden table, I know she’s left me a special delivery! Soft boiled or poached, they make a very special breakfast but they also make the very best creamy carbonara. This classic recipe is now known as ‘Mrs Martin’s Carbonara’ chez Pigeon Cottage!
- 95g pack of pancetta cut into strips or lardons about 1cm thick (I use Waitrose ‘Cook’s Ingredients’ packs)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs – organic, free range
- 25ml water
- 1 tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little extra to serve
- 200g dried spaghetti
- Set a large pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt and add the spaghetti. Cook according to the instructions on the pack – usually about 10 minutes for al dente.
- Warm your serving bowls – this doesn’t take long and you’ll need these ready as soon as the carbonara is cooked.
- Meanwhile, dry fry the pancetta strips until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crispy. Set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl, add the water, season well with a little salt and a lot of ground cracked black pepper. Whisk thoroughly. Stir in the Parmesan.
- When the pasta is ready, drain it well and return to the pan.
- Scrape in the crisp pancetta and all the rendered fat. Mix together thoroughly.
- Now add the egg mixture and turn the pasta in it until it cooks through, thickens and goes silky and creamy. You might need to return the pan to the heat for 30 seconds or so but stir it constantly so as not to scramble the eggs. If you’ve got residual heat on an electric hob from cooking the pasta, this is the perfect temperature.
- Serve immediately in the warmed bowls with an extra scattering of Parmesan.
- Cheers Mrs Martin!
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