Where's the Spaghetti?
Of course, a true pasta lover will probably disagree, being just happy to eat his 'al dente' spaghetti with great olive oil, golden bits of garlic and coarse-ground black pepper. Me, I'm into pasta sauce bigtime. Being paranoid that there may not be enough sauce and topping to go around, I always end up cooking more than actually required for the pasta itself.
Hubby is of the view that I should stop this kitchen rule immediately, not exactly helping with his or my waist-girth at all. *SIGH* Breaking a habit is tough, especially when there's little incentive to do so.
Spaghetti Carbonara, being so simple to cook, has ended up in a myriad of styles in different kitchens, and naturally in my hands, a lot depends on what's in the fridge (note: since I'm heavy-handed with my topping, I haven't indicated the exact amount of ingredients below, except for the sauce which should be sufficient for two medium-sized portions):
- sliced small strips of ham and bacon are pan-fried in heated olive oil with some chopped garlic for a few minutes
- sliced button mushrooms, green peas and half a sliced red chilli are added to pan and fried for a couple of minutes more together with salt and pepper to taste (and in case you're wondering, red chillies are never found in an original carbonara sauce but I like the slight heat from the chilli providing that hint of underlying contrast to the creamy carbonara sauce)
- beat 2 really fresh eggs (extremely important that these are fresh eggs since they will not be cooked over heat) with 3 tablespoons of single cream (and 1 tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan cheese - I normally skip this unless I have good Parmigiano Reggiano, and heaven forbid any substitution with that dry stuff in a green bottle called Kraft's Parmesan Cheese)
- drain the cooked al dente spaghetti and mix with the fry-pan ingredients, pour in the egg and cream mixture and stir well - the stirring coupled with the heat of the just cooked spaghetti will help to cook slightly the raw egg mixture (note: carbonara sauce is usually not recommended for pregnant women and young children due to this raw egg element)
- garnish with shredded basil leaves (and grated Parmesan, if you like) and finish off with a bit of wristwork to the black pepper grinder