none traditional, flexible carbonara recipe

I looked in the fridge today and thought ‘what are we having for dinner tonight?’ I could see bacon, mushrooms and a bit of cream left in the pot.

As the day went by I really couldn’t be bothered to cook, so what’s easy to make with the ingredients I have? Carbonara.

I always keep a packet of linguine in for an easy meal. Carbonara is quick, doesn’t require too much preparation and is very flexible.

The basics are egg yolks, linguine, a few fresh herbs and some tasty cheese. I like to keep some hard Italian cheese in the fridge for all sorts of dishes and my favourite is pecoreno.

 

For a basic recipe you need:

a couple of spoons of olive oil or a bit of butter

half an onion

a clove of garlic

parma ham (about 25gms per person), or left over slices of ham (whatever you have left), or lardons, or chopped bacon (a handful or a couple of slices)

linguine, recommended amount per person

2 egg yolks for 2 people

a bit of cream if you have it.

a handful of fresh parsley chopped

mushrooms if you have them

Cheese, I use pecorino but Cheddar is good as well. About 25gms a person. (less for a diet version)

Then

Put on a frying pan and heat the oil or butter, chop the onions and crush the garlic. Put in the frying pan, stir and cook on a medium heat.

Put on a half full pan of water, I use water hot from the tap or boil a kettle, you need a reasonabley sized pan as you will mix everything together in it afterwards. Put in a pinch of salt.

Add the bacon, ham or lardons to the frying pan and keep the heat on medium to low. It needs to cook but gently.

When the water boils put in the linguine and follow the pack instructions for the time it takes to cook. It’s generally 10 -11 minutes. Stir the pasta to make sure it separates.

Put the egg yolks in a bowl, chop up the parsley and add to the egg yolks. Give them a whisk with a fork. Add a couple of table spoons of cream if you have it. Grate the cheese, if it’s a hard cheese use the smaller grating holes.

If using, chop up the mushrooms and add them to the frying pan. Give the pan a good stir.

When the pasta is cooked (or the timer goes off taste it and make sure it’s not solid in the middle) drain in a sieve or colander and return to the empty saucepan. Use a pasta serving spoon and a fork or two forks. If you like stir in a few slithers of butter. Stir in a good sprinkling or grinds of black pepper.

Pour over the egg mixture and make sure it is well forked through. The egg should cook against the hot pasta, fork in the grated cheese and put into bowls. Spoon the frying pan mixture over the top, sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and serve.

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