Pasta Carbonara

I first encountered this dish about thirty years ago in a book by Ursel Norman (Pasta! Pasta! Pasta! : A Collection of Pasta Recipes). Over the years it has become a regular breakfast item, which I tend to use as a reward after a lengthy workout in the garden on a weekend. If you’re after a version with a little more oomph the addition of a couple of drops of Tabasco or similar chilli sauce makes for a nice pick me up after a heavy night.

Over the years I’ve slowly moved away from the Norman version of the recipe. Here’s my current version 

INGREDIENTS:

2 or 3 large eggs

Chopped parsley

Plenty of freshly-ground black pepper

50 g diced bacon pieces

Plenty of freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

200 g pasta (penne or other hollow shape)

METHOD: Bring a large quantity of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

Break the eggs into a bowl and add the freshly ground pepper. Whisk thoroughly and set aside while pasta is cooking.

Place the bacon in a glass dish and microwave on high until cooked to your liking.

As soon as pasta is cooked, drain quickly and add the pasta to the egg mixture before it has a chance to cool. Add bacon and parsley to the mixture and stir until all ingredients are well mixed. The idea is that the heat of the pasta cooks the eggs. If you’re not happy with the result, microwave until the eggs are just set. Add cheese and serve immediately. Serves one as a substantial brunch.

Most versions of this dish that I’ve encountered in restaurant menus include cream in the sauce. According to the Wikipedia:

The original recipe from the Italian region of Lazio is made from eggs, garlic, parmigiano reggiano, pecorino romano, guanciale (unsmoked pig cheeks), black pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Cream is not an ingredient in the original recipe, and is not generally used with pasta in central Italy...... The original recipe does not result in a heavily saucy pasta; the eggs and cheese form a coating on the noodles, with pieces of pancetta scattered throughout.

My version may not be overly authentic, but I like it...

 © Ian Hughes 2014