Since this is my first food post I feel like I should include some sort of disclaimer. I like food. I cook food. I eat food. But I’m no Nigella. These recipes aren’t intended to blow your mind or push culinary boundaries. They have made it into our repertoire because they are easy, quick and nutritious, but mainly because they get eaten.
The reasons for my unwavering respect for this Italian favourite are sixfold:
- It has been approved by a bona fide Italian who is married to my lovely friend. This is how his mother makes it in Rome. Who am I to argue, considering we weren’t even eating pasta here when I was a bambino.
- It has very few ingredients, all of which are guaranteed to be found lolling idly around an otherwise empty fridge on the night before grocery day like drunken stragglers at the end of a fading party.
- My children eat it. Not only do they eat it, they REQUEST it. Boom!
- It can be on the table in less than fifteen minutes.
- It’s healthy! Hurrah! It can be easily hacked and made with low-calorie spray and rindless rahsers instead of olive oil and pancetta (don’t tell Claudio’s mother!) There’s no cream yet magically it looks and tastes creamy.
- It’s perfect for baby-led weaning. Little chubby hands love nothing more than fistfuls of tangled spaghetti for their flinging pleasure. (Cue Instagram Boomerang moment when the nine-month-old purses her lips to suck up an extra long piece.) If you’d prefer, you can leave out the bacon for younger babies and they can enjoy a portion of spaghetti with some olive oil and parmesan. Babies should have less than 1g of salt (0.4g of sodium) per day so keep an eye on food labels. Don’t panic about the eggs. The hot pasta will cook them enough.
Try it and let me know what you think! Buon appetito!
Spaghetti Carbonara (Serves 2 adults and 2 children)
- 3 egg yokes (usually one per adult)
- 200g pancetta
- 350g dried spaghetti
- 60g Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
- 1 clove of garlic
- extra virgin olive oil
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add a pinch of salt. Add spaghetti and cook according to instructions on packet.
- In a bowl, mix the egg yokes and parmesan. Set aside.
- Meanwhile add oil (or spray) to a pan. Peel a clove of garlic and drop it whole into the pan for about a minute.
- Add the pancetta (or cubes of lean smoked rashers) and cook on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until crispy and golden. Remove the garlic and take the pan off the heat.
- Drain the pasta but save a cupful of the cooking water. (Don’t forget this bit!)
- Add the pasta and a tablespoon of cooking water to the pancetta and mix well.
- Add the egg and parmesan and toss some more until it forms a creamy consistency. Add a little more cooking water if necessary.
- Crack some black pepper on top, sprinkle with parmesan and a little parsley. Serve immediately.