Monday, August 4, 2008

Spaghetti Carbonara - The No Cream Recipe

I would like to pretend to anyone reading this blog, that I am organised and know what I am doing, but sadly this is often untrue. I have the ability to forget wet washing in the machine for days at a time (ewww...the smell!). I have the ability to lose anything within 20 seconds of having it in my hands (drives my family insane). I have also been known to forget to go to the shops to buy anything for dinner. But for this problem, I have a solution which makes it look like I am relatively in control.

Spaghetti Carbonara is probably familiar to many of you as a particularly creamy, gluggy pasta that is almost always on the menu of suburban Italian restaurants. In fact, as I learnt from Ruth Reichl in her book "Garlic & Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Restaurant Critic in Disguise", real carbonara contains no cream. To quote Reichl, "I think of this as bacon and eggs with pasta instead of toast. It's the perfect last-minute dinner, and I've yet to meet a child that doesn't like it." Her recipe is wonderful. And fast.

- 500g spaghetti
- 125-250g thickly sliced good quality bacon
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 large eggs
- Black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for the table

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When it is boiling, throw the spaghetti in.

Cut the bacon into pieces about 1cm wide. Reserve the rind. Put the bacon in a frying pan and cook for 2 minutes, until fat begins to render. Add the whole cloves of garlic and cook another 5 minutes, until the edges of the bacon just begin to get crisp. Do not overcook; if they get too crisp they won't meld with the pasta. While the bacon is on the stove, put the rind on a plate in between two sheets of paper towel, and cook on high in the microwave for 1-2 mins, or until crisp.

Meanwhile, break the eggs into the serving bowl, and beat them with a fork. Grind in some black pepper. Remove the garlic from the bacon pan. Drain off some fat if it looks too much for you.
When it is cooked, drain the pasta and immediately throw it into the beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly. The heat of the spaghetti will cook the eggs and turn them into a sauce. Add the bacon and remaining fat, toss again, add cheese and serve. Garnish with the crisped rind.

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