Carbonara Sauce | Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Carbonara Sauce | The authentic way to make it

Carbonara Sauce is possibly one of the most distorted and ‘abused’ sauces worldwide.  I admit to being a pedant and quite militant with it when it comes to Italian food, but why mess with something so simple and delicious? By all means, make pasta with a sauce that includes cream, mushrooms…whatever you want to stick in it.  Go for it!  Just please don’t call it ‘carbonara’!

Authentic Carbonara Sauce only contains a few very simple ingredients: eggs, pecorino cheese, black pepper, guanciale (it can be difficult to get hold of in the UK – I order it online – so you CAN substitute pancetta, but for the best – and most authentic – taste, try to get hold of guanciale), olive oil.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 6 large egg yolks (if you don’t like waste, make meringue with the left-over whites)
  • 70-100g grated pecorino cheese (enough to make a thick paste with the egg yolks – the exact amount will depend on the size of the yolks)
  • plenty of freshly-ground black pepper (to taste, but you do want to see a ‘speckled’ effect, ideally)
  • 200g diced guanciale (if you really can’t get hold of any, substitute with diced pancetta – I get my guanciale online here)
  • a generous dash of olive oil (bear in mind that an Italian ‘dash’ is quite a large splash!)
  • Spaghetti for 4 people (approx. 700g)

Method:

Place a large pan / stockpot approx. 3/4 full of water onto the hob and turn the heat on high.

While the pasta water comes to the boil, separate the eggs and place the egg yolks in a large serving bowl.  Add the grated pecorino cheese and freshly-ground black pepper to the egg yolks and stir in with a fork.  Aim for a thick consistency.

Carbonara Sauce | egg yolk and pecorino cheese

Egg yolk with pecorino and black pepper

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the diced guanciale, fry until the guanciale fat goes quite transparent and a little bit crispy.

Once the water comes to the boil, add a few drops of olive oil and a small handful of coarse sea salt.  Add the spaghetti when the water is boiling vigorously and push it down with a wooden spoon within a few seconds – as soon as it’s soft enough to ‘bend’ and stir so that all the pasta is in the water and doesn’t stick together. Cook the pasta for the indicated time on the pack, but taste it a minute or two before the indicated time to ensure you don’t over-cook it. It needs to retain a little bit of ‘bite’ – the ‘al dente’ consistency.

Once the spaghetti are cooked, drain them and immediately drop them into the big serving bowl containing the egg yolks, pecorino cheese and black pepper, mixing them with a serving spoon and fork to ensure the pasta is evenly coated in the egg, pecorino & pepper mixture and no ‘clumps’ form.

Pour on the olive oil and guanciale immediately and mix in.  Serve & enjoy!

Carbonara Sauce | Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara – Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

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Tomato Spaghetti | Spaghetti al Pomodoro Fresco

Spaghetti with fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic

One of my favourite summer recipes – incredibly quick and easy to make

I love this recipe!  To me, it just shouts out “It’s Summer!” The colours, the scent, the flavours…everything comes together to give your taste buds a glorious treat.

Tomato Spaghetti

Ingredients for Spaghetti with fresh Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil (quantities according to taste)

  • Spaghetti
  • Fresh tomatoes, chopped up
  • Fresh garlic, finely chopped or crushed (about half a clove per person, but this is subject to individual taste)
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn or roughly chopped
  • A generous splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground chilli flakes to taste (add to individual servings at the dinner table)

Method

Bring a big pan of water to the boil, add a handful of coarse sea salt and a drop of oil (no need for olive oil here, it’s just to stop the pasta from sticking)

Put enough spaghetti into the boiling water for however many people you’re feeding and cook to ‘al dente’ consistency (cooked but not soggy, with a little bit of ‘bite’ left)

While the pasta is cooking, chop the tomatoes and finely chop or crush the garlic

Place these into a big bowl and add the chopped or torn basil leaves

Season with salt (to taste) and add a generous helping of excellent quality extra virgin olive oil

When the pasta is cooked, drain and immediately transfer into the bowl holding the tomatoes, basil & garlic

Toss everything together and serve immediately!

For those that enjoy a bit of spice, provide ground chilli flakes (we have ours in a salt/pepper mill set to its finest setting) and each individual can add these to their own portion, to taste.

Enjoy!

Tomato Spaghetti – Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!