Carbonara is a regular in my cooking repertoire. Being so simple to cook I think that, in order to deliver on flavour, only the best ingredients will do: fresh, free-range eggs; cracked black pepper; good quality pancetta (OK, I cheated and used bacon – only the best I can assure you!) Anyway, you get my drift. I’ve given the classic carbonara a bit of a makeover ensuring that it isn’t too heavy (I never use cream in carbonara) and delivers even more on flavour, perfect for a summers evening. Oh and your average carbonara doesn’t use garlic… but I like garlic, so there.
200g linguini (or spaghetti)
½ large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Pancetta (or good quality bacon, preferably streaky)
Dollop (technical term) of crème fraiche
40g parmesan, finely grated (or use pecorino/both if you’re crazy)
Handful mint, torn
Salt, pepper and olive oil
– Bring some salted water to the boil, add a splosh (another technical term for y’all) of olive oil and add pasta. Cook according to packet.
– Meanwhile, fry the onion in olive oil and when soft add the pancetta/bacon and garlic. Fry until the pancetta begins to crispen.
– Add the finely sliced courgette (I find this is easiest done with a potato peeler) and cook for another couple of minutes until the courgette is just cooked, retaining some bite.
– Remove from the heat. In a separate bowl combine the egg, parmesan, half the mint and a generous amount of black pepper.
– Drain the pasta making sure you retain some of the water and tip into the frying pan full of goodies. Add the egg mixture and toss well until the pasta is covered evenly Add some of the cooking water to loosen as desired.
– Sprinkle with mint, parmesan and black pepper, and serve!
I think this is a worthy stand-alone dish, but a nice tomato salad wouldn’t go amiss. Also, add some toasted pinenuts! I wish I had, just to give a little texture to the dish although it was perfectly delicious as it was. Either combine with the pasta or sprinkle on top to give the dish more ‘table-appeal’.