There’s not a lot that can top spaghetti carbonara for me. My parents live round the corner from a little Italian restaurant and every time I go I struggle to make the (massively important) decision: carbonara or calzone. What kind of choice is that to ask a person to make, huh? Invariably I make an on the spot decision and pray it was the right one. Honestly though, there’s no losing in that situation.
Anyway, can you believe it’s taken me until age 24 to actually make spaghetti carbonara myself? For somebody who loves it so much, that’s pretty damn ridiculous. I think I’d always had it in my head that it was a difficult dish, because surely something this rich and creamy and luxurious couldnt possibly be simple to make!? Well, I was wrong. Oh, so wrong.
This recipe is a pretty straightforward one, but there is a quick little shortcut you can take if you want a bit less faff/dishes to wash. I tend to grill the pancetta because I find it’s the easiest way to ensure perfectly crispy, salty bacon (mmm!). However, if you’re less pedantic about the level of crispiness (is that a word? Whatever, I’m going with it!), you can fry it along with the garlic instead.
Another note on this recipe – I’ve been reliably informed by an Italian friend that authentic carbonara doesn’t contain any cream. As you’ll see, I’ve pretty much ignored that (sorry!). So it’s probably not completely authentic but I wanted to recreate the rich, creamy spaghetti carbonara I’m so fond of and so, that means cream. There’s only a little hint of it though so rather than overpowering the dish it just makes it extra indulgent!
- 200g spaghetti
- 100g pancetta cubes
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 25g butter
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 30 ml white wine
- 2 eggs
- 30ml double cream
- 40g parmesan
- salt & black pepper, to taste
- Add the spaghetti to a pan of boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, spread the pancetta out on a baking tray and grill for about 5 minutes, until crispy.
- In a large frying pan (big enough to hold the spaghetti), heat the oil and butter. Add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes before adding the white wine. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes then add in the grilled pancetta.
- Beat the eggs, cream and parmesan (plus a little salt and black pepper) together and set aside.
- Once the spaghetti has cooked, reserve about 50ml of the cooking water. Drain the spaghetti and add to the frying pan.
- Add the egg mixture and use two forks to toss with the spaghetti for 2-3 minutes. Add some of the cooking water as required.