This super creamy pasta dish is a perfect amalgamation of Italian cuisine and proper British grub: Bacon Carbonara! Following the traditional Italian method with just cheese, eggs and pasta water (no milk or cream needed!), the pasta becomes incredibly indulgent and very filling. Instead of going out of our way to buy some guanciale, the traditional Italian cured meat made from pork cheeks, we always have bacon in the house, and our super smokey British bacon adds a fantastic extra level of flavour. And the best thing is: the whole dish cooks in just as long as it takes your pasta!
- 500 g dried spaghetti
- 100 g smoked bacon, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, well beaten in a bowl
- 50 g finely grated hard cheese (pecorino or parmesan are great) + extra to serve
- Olive oil
- In a large pot, bring some water to the boil and season very generously with salt (ideal pasta water tastes like sea water!).
- Heat up a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and start frying off your bacon pieces and halved garlic cloves in a generous glug of olive oil. The bacon will continue to fry right until the pasta goes in and should become lovely and crispy.
- When the water is boiling, add in your pasta and cook about a minute shorter than it says on the packet. Stirring the pasta every now and then helps to prevent it from sticking together or the bottom of the pan.
- In the meantime, add your grated hard cheese to the beaten egg and season with salt and pepper.
- About two minutes before your pasta is done, take out about a cup of pasta water and set aside to cool down slightly. Once cooled, add into your egg and cheese mixture and mix well.
- When the pasta is done, remove it from the water (if you drain your pasta remember to preserve some of the water) and immediately transfer it into the pan with bacon. Remove from heat and add some pasta water to cool the mixture down. This will prevent the egg mixture from turning into scrambled eggs.
- Carefully add in your egg mixture and stir well until the liquids become super creamy and coat all of the pasta.