This recipe would probably have Italian mothers turning in their graves as it is certainly not authentic with the addition of such items as peas and mushrooms but the sauce is smooth and velvetty as a good carbonara should be. Note that no lashings of cream or copious amounts of butter are used at all as the flavour and texture come from the salty, smoky, crisp bacon and fresh herbs combined by the silky sauce.
I just added what needed using in the fridge for a quick, tasty, healthy meal. This recipe serves 2.
- 4 smoked bacon rashers
- 50g parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 150g spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle
- 2 plump garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 100g mushrooms, roughly chopped
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- A handful of chopped parsley
- ½ mug of frozen peas, cooked
- salt and freshly grated black pepper
- Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, season with a little freshly grated black pepper and finely grate the cheese. Mix the cheese and eggs together and set aside.
- Add 1 tsp salt to the boiling water, add the chosen pasta and when the water comes back to the boil, cook at a constant simmer, for 10 minutes or until al dente (just cooked).
- While the spaghetti is cooking, place the bacon rashers in a cold pan and place the pan over a medium-high heat. As the pan heats up, the fat will render from the bacon. Turn the bacon over to cook both sides until crispy then remove from the pan. Chop the bacon into chunks and set aside. In the same pan you cooked the bacon in, add the mushrooms to the bacon fat along with the garlic and thyme and fry until the mushrooms soften and cook. Add the chopped bacon back to the pan.
- Keep the heat under the bacon and mushrooms on low. When the pasta is ready lift it from the water with a pasta fork or tongs and put it in the frying pan with the bacon. Don’t worry if a little water drops in the pan as well (you want this to happen) and don’t throw the rest of the pasta water away yet.
- Take the pan of pasta and bacon off the heat. Now quickly pour in the eggs and cheese and, using the tongs or a long fork, lift up the spaghetti so it mixes easily with the egg mixture, which thickens but doesn’t scramble, and everything is coated. Add extra pasta cooking water to keep it saucy (several tablespoons should do it). You don’t want it wet, just moist. Season with a little salt, if needed.
- Serve immediately with a little sprinkling of extra parmesan cheese, a grating of black pepper and the parsley. I also added some frozen peas that I boiled for a couple of minutes to add a few more veg to the mix. If the dish does get a little dry before serving, splash in some more hot pasta water and the glossy sauciness will be revived.
Tip: Don’t add the egg mixture to the saucepan before removing it from the heat and allowing to cool slightly or the eggs will scramble. Do not be afraid to add plenty of pasta water either as the pasta will finish cooking and suck up the moisture to create a lovely sauce. Just keep the contents of the pan moving so the egg does not catch then serve immediately and enjoy!