Carbonara | Tuggy Tucks In

Spaghetti carbonara is my ultimate, absolute favourite food in the world! My way is by no means the traditional Italian way to make it, but it’s how I like it best.

Firstly you start off with ingredients resembling the likes of what I have above. Now, you can use standard white mature cheddar cheese or swap with something more traditional like Parmesan. You can opt for a red onion or a white onion, you can add mushrooms if they are to your taste or leave them out – it depends if I have any in to whether I use them or not. Or simply leave the bacon out and add more mushrooms to go for a veggie option.

First I’ll fill a pot just over half way, with warm water from the tap and bring it to the boil with either a pinch of salt or a splash of olive oil. I enjoy spaghetti as my chosen pasta but whether it’s tagliatelle or fusilli that tickles your fancy, once the water is boiling, reduce the temperature slightly and add the pasta, ensuring it’s totally immersed in the water so as it cooks all at once. It’ll take approx 10 – 12 mins to boil (less if your using fresh pasta).

I tend to use smoked streaky bacon when I can for the unbeatable flavour, but equally if you have back bacon in the house (like I did when I made it last) or Italian pancetta, that works fine too. If I’m making it for myself, I’ll crush or finely chop one or two cloves of garlic, dice approx half an onion and how many mushrooms I fancy depending on what size and type I’m using. Sometimes I’ll grill the bacon and chop it up afterwards or I’ll cut it up with kitchen scissors whilst raw and gently fry it with the onion, garlic and mushrooms.

This is the seriously easy part, once the meat, vegetables and pasta are cooked, drain the pasta and add it back into the pot (make sure you do this on a cold hob so as the pasta doesn’t stick) adding the meat and veg too. Then, grate approximately a small handful of cheese and add to the pot, alongside a tablespoon of cream cheese and a splash of cream. I try to use lighter/half fat versions where I can, as this dish contains a lot of dairy, protein and carbohydrates which are high in calories. I pop the pot with all the ingredients in it, back on the hob on a low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until melted. You can then do the next part on the hob continuing that low heat or take it off completely – crack an egg into the pot, quickly stir and coat the pasta for a matter of seconds. The hot pasta will cook the egg just enough, you do not want the egg to coagulate and essentially scramble, you just want it to bind and coat the carbonara.

Top with chopped chives or parsley to garnish, a sprinkling of Parmesan and some black pepper and there you have it, a quick, easy and super tasty carbonara. With it being my favourite food, I’ve tried a few different ways of cooking it, including making my own white sauce (roux) with flour, margarine and milk and I think the recipe above is by far my preferred taste. If you’re worried about the calories you could simply omit the cream cheese and cream and use Parmesan and egg which is the traditional way, but for a more rich full flavoured treat, the above recipe is my winning carbonara.

Please do get in touch and let me know if you end up trying it or if you have a better way of doing it as I’d love to give it a go!

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