I remember being about 12 years old and my Dad showing me how to cook a basic pasta carbonara sauce. This was the first thing that I learned to cook and so I must have eaten this nearly every week for a long time thereafter. He then taught me to add frozen spinach that had been heated in the microwave in place of the pancetta to make a fiorentina sauce; and suddenly I had doubled my cooking repertoire.
From these humble beginnings my love of cooking started; although it was a number of years before I started to expand much further than a few very basic recipes. By learning a few basic recipes at such a young age it showed me that cooking was not some dark and mystic art that you had to train at for years. Cooking and preparing a tasty meal, however simple, is easy and quick. If I could manage it when I was an idiot child, then anyone can.
I recently put a picture of my spaghetti carbonara on Instagram and was asked to upload the recipe and so felt I would share with you. This is not the same recipe as the one my Dad showed me; it is, however, just as easy. If you are not an experienced cook or want to introduce your child to the joys of cooking then look no further. Who knows they too may have their own food blog in twenty years’ time and be living the dream like me…
What you need
- 100ml double cream* (I sometimes combine with a little light crème fraiche)
- 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk
- 100g of diced pancetta
- 50g finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino
- Chopped parsley
- Salt and roughly ground black pepper
- A serving of dried spaghetti or pasta of your choice
- Olive oil or truffle oil if you are feeling fancy
What you do
Put the pasta on to cook as per the instructions on the packet. Whilst this is cooking fry the pancetta in a frying pan with a little oil, you will not need much as they will release some liquid. You want to cook the pancetta until it is starting to crisp at the edges. Once cooked pour onto some kitchen roll, but leave the pan as you will be needing this later.
Whilst the pasta and pancetta are cooking combine most of the other ingredients saving a little of the grated cheese and parsley. Whisk together until combined, it should be a little thick but still roughly the consistency of the cream.
Once cooked drain the pasta retaining a little bit of the water in case you need it. Put the frying pan from the pancetta back on the heat and add the drained pasta followed by the cream mixture and the cooked pancetta. Stir together on the heat until the sauce has coated the pasta but not so long that the sauce resembles scrambled egg; this should take no longer than 30 seconds. If it does get a little thick add a little of the pasta water.
Place on a plate and drizzle over a little oil and the rest of the parsley and grated cheese. Eat.
I told you it was simple.
* Yes I do use cream in my carbonara, sorry to all you purists but it is just the way I do it.