For my failproof, modernised and modified, oh so moreish carbonara, there are only several steps-verging on the more intermediate range of cooking, but easy enough so that anyone can achieve such a treat! Firstly, boil the water in a saucepan for the (preferably 500g) pack of spaghetti (or indeed, penne, though spaghetti, I find, soaks up the delicious sauce much more!)-salt the pasta water and take it off the heat once it is ‘Al-dente’ ;pasta which is too chewy or soft will not do!
- 1 dash salt
- 1 tsp black peppercorn
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 dash garlic powder
- 8 slices pancetta
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp butter
Once the pasta of your choice has cooked to a desirable consistency, remove from the pan onto a separate plate, (once drained), pour the sunflower oil, butter, salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder into the pan. Stir the mixture; getting the fat nice, hot and sizzling. Cut the pancetta/bacon/lardons/ ham (dependant on your ingredients) into cubes/strips (I tend to use small rectangle strips) and put into the pan of oil, butter and seasoning- bland meat and pasta is extremely undesirable.
- 1 tsp mustard
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
Once the pancetta (or otherwise, replacement) is gorgeous and crispy heaven, add in the mustard and soy sauce-this may seem highly unconventional, but I promise you that you’ll see why this is such a key step for the ingredients here; the pancetta-buttery-seasoned mixture becomes delightfully dark and rustic once the soy sauce is added; the mustard provides a sharp tang, a much welcomed addition.
Ensure that the pancetta mixture does not become stuck to the bottom of the pan. Once that is thoroughly cooked through and crispy, whisk up the eggs and cream (or milk) personally, I choose to mix these two together, for a smoother, more divine finish. (Now, here is the most crucial step; it essentially determines the fate of your carbonara! Move the cooked spaghetti into the pan of the seasoned meaty goodness, mix together so that all flavours are enriched, and get your eggs-cream mix ready!
- 300 ml double cream
- 3 eggs
You don’t want to have to skimp on the cream (which, along with the eggs, and soy sauce, gives it the ultimate godlike creaminess) , how some other recipes suggest, so be generous! With the eggs-cream mixture, be very vigilant and prepared to stir nonstop, not for a second (seriously!) -the end result hinges on this; the last thing you want to end up with is scrambled eggs! On a high heat, pour in the mixture, and begin whisking extra thoroughly as soon as the first drop hits the pan.
- ¼ bag shredded cheddar cheese
Having whisked in the eggs and cream super diligently, (for several minutes, to ensure that it is cooked through completely-the use of the heat on ‘high’ will mean it cooks quickly, and hopefully without scrambling, or burning the cream!), your carbonara is *almost* finished (relieved and hungry, right?) -add in a handful of grated mature cheddar, for an extra cheesy, rich and delicious meal, and mix once again.
- ½ package grated Parmesan cheese
Lastly, serve out your delectable carbonara: 500g of spaghetti will easily serve 3 at any occasion, if not more, depending on the generosity of your servings. On the plate or indeed bowl, sprinkle a more than generous dash of fresh grated Parmesan from the block; of course you can opt for packet Parmesan, but grated yourself from the block is far fresher. So there you have it... your own homemade, easy but not lacking in taste or flavour, scrumptious carbonara. Enjoy!