Sunday, 16 January 2011


For no adequately definable reason, tonight's post is about carbonara. Well, OK, it's mostly because that's what I made myself for supper and I haven't really done all that much today (although I did go and see The King's Speech with W, The Godmother, and J, The Godmother's sister (it was really sweet and extremely pretty, in case you were wondering)).

My version of carbonara includes mushrooms, which leads my mother to insist that it's not real carbonara. This springs from a time when the boyf and I would buy bacon and mushrooms pretty much every time we did a grocery shop, as most of our stand-by easy suppers involved them.

The first time I ever tried to make carbonara, it was a disaster. I think this was mostly because the recipe I was using specified crème fraiche (I still have no idea what that is, as compared to, say, soured cream), and I don't think I really grasped the concept. I was cooking for friends, so the resultant watery, semi-separated mess was rather embarrassing, and I didn't go back to carbonara for quite a while. Eventually, something prompted me to google it, and I got a better feel for the idea behind it and managed to make a passable version of my own. I'm glad I did, because it is probably the tastiest fast meal in my repertoire.

I use a mixture of cream and beaten egg for the sauce. Due to poor prior planning, I have tried making carbonara without the cream, and without the egg (on separate occasions, of course), and found that you can leave out the egg, but the cream is vital. Lady Zorro has told me, however, that the Italians just use egg, and the addition of cream is not authentic. I'm pretty sure none of the versions I have eaten in various restaurants over the years have been as dry as my egg-only version, but perhaps that's because I don't use cheese.

My recipe is very simple:

1. Put kettle on to boil. Meanwhile, chop up bacon and mushrooms.

2. Put pasta on to cook and fry bacon and mushrooms. Beat an egg (1/2 to 1 per person, usually) and mix in cream with plenty of pepper.

3. As soon as pasta is cooked, drain and add to bacon and mushrooms, either in frying pan or pasta pan, depending on space issues. Pour over egg and cream and mix briskly. Serve asap. Eat fast.

Top Tip: I don't see the point of unsmoked bacon.

I hope that inspires any hungry people! I'm starting to feel a bit like Superchef!

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