I often wonder how people managed before pasta? This is clearly a ridiculous thought, as there are many people the world over who do just that – survive without ever eating pasta. And of course, there is nothing wrong with that at all. It’s not exactly an essential like water. Perhaps my question should be amended to – how would I manage without pasta? And the answer to that is pretty simple – not very well.
I rely on pasta for so many things. It is my emergency go-to when I haven’t done any shopping and have no ingredients in the house – I simply boil some pasta, and even just the simple addition of olive oil, garlic and some chilli flakes suddenly becomes a pretty delicious meal. Or I could just add some tinned anchovies and capers and even throw in a tomato and a couple of olives if available, and hey presto, another quick and easy tasty dinner option.
It’s also my fail-safe option if I am in a rush; or if I have some unexpected guests that want to eat; or if I am cooking for a large number of people – whatever the occasion, it seems you just can’t go wrong with a pasta dish! It’s also great for parties – pasta salad…. yes, please! So you see, the options are endless. I could go on and on listing all the many pasta dishes that I love to eat and make so I will not bore anyone with that level of detail (otherwise we could be here a while).
Another thing I love about pasta, is that Italians, perhaps surprisingly to some, cook with a lot of chilli. So there are lots of deliciously spicy recipes to choose from. And any recipe that has an addition of spice is a winner in my view.
Now the below recipe does not contain chilli, but it is quick and easy to make and only requires a few ingredients. It is also incredibly delicious and tastes surprisingly rich, even though it is made from only 5 basic ingredients.
There are many different versions of this dish – many contain cream or lots of butter and I have even seen it served with mushrooms before. Personally, I find it rich enough so don’t think it needs cream – it then becomes too heavy in my opinion. These various versions may all taste very nice, but if you want the authentic Italian version, then see below. I’m sure this will become one of your go-to emergency easy dinner options too 🙂
OTV Cuisine: Spaghetti Carbonara
- 400g spaghetti
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 60g Parmesan, grated plus extra for serving
- 2 tablespoons oil (I used olive oil)
- 30g butter
- 2 garlic cloves
- 200g pancetta / streaky bacon, cut into small strips
- Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (this means that the pasta is cooked until the outside is tender, but the centre still has a little resistance or ‘bite’. Pasta cooked beyond this point becomes soggy)
- Meanwhile, mix the eggs, egg yolks and Parmesan together in a bowl and season lightly
- Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan
- Bruise the garlic cloves with the back of a knife and add to the pan with the pancetta
- Cook over moderate heat until the pancetta is crisp, discarding the garlic when it becomes golden
- Drain the spaghetti, add to the frying pan and toss well
- Remove from the heat and stir in the egg mixture (make sure you have taken off the heat otherwise the eggs will cook too quickly and curdle)
- Serve immediately, with the Parmesan
Photos: See caption