This is probably the 5th and last experiment we had with Spaghetti Carbonara. For the last year my family were in search for that ultimate (in our taste) non-cloying rich carbonara recipe. A lot that went through our plates and stomachs before was much too rich that often ended up in the rubbish bin. Just look at the picture below, admittedly I handled the camera better that time but notice the difference with it having a lot of creamy sauce. It was fine in the first forkful but after that oh my it was nakaka-uta (too rich).
It wasn't until I stumbled upon Angela Nielsen's recipe in the BBC GoodFood magazine that I found a carbonara without any cream! It proved to be just the right taste that we wanted aided by that technique of adding a few tablespoons of pasta water to keep it moist and glossy. You have to keep in mind that timing is essential here. It is important to keep the pan off the heat while stirring the pasta with the egg mixture otherwise the sauce will curdle. Also keep your serving bowls warm to prevent the loss of heat in the pasta while eating. Cold carbonara is not too enticing believe you me.
125 g pancetta or streaky bacon - chopped
40 g Parmesan cheese - finely grated
40 g Pecorino cheese - finely grated
3 large eggs - beaten
2 garlic cloves - peeled and left whole
60 g (1/4 cup) butter
300 g spaghetti
salt and pepper to taste
- Mix the 2 cheeses together then add about 3/4 of it to the eggs, mixing it well. Set aside the rest of the cheese mixture for garnishing.
- Slightly squash the garlic by pressing under the blade of a knife. Set aside.
- Bring a big pot of water with salt to boil then drop in the spaghetti. Cook according to package instructions (usually bring to boil then start timing for 11 minutes).
- While the spaghetti is cooking, heat a large wide pan and melt the butter.
- When the butter has melted drop in the garlic and pancetta.
- Fry on medium heat until pancetta is crisp and golden.
Remove the garlic cloves. Keep the pan on low heat.
- When the spaghetti is ready, drain but make sure to reserve some of the pasta water.
- Put the spaghetti in the pan and mix well with the pancetta.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the egg-cheese mixture.
- Stir to mix well adding about 2-3 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to keep it moist and glossy.
- Serve immediately on warmed bowls sprinkled with the reserved grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper.