If you’re looking for a simple dinner, then look no further than a carbonara. Quick, with minimal ingredients and can be considered a great comfort food. You can jazz up a carbonara, with different meat, cheeses and so on. But this recipe just sticks with mature cheddar cheese and good quality ham as a basis of a hearty meal.
I like to use a cooked ham in this recipe, which one reduces the cooking time, and adds a great depth of flavour. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t got a precooked ham, pre packed ham or bacon works just as well.
This next statement may divide opinions, but I love thick slices/ chunks of ham in my carbonara, not thin small pieces which you can hardly taste. Therefore slice the ham thickly around 0.5 to 1cm thick and chop roughly.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
- 150g Ham (Bacon/ Pancetta Can Be Used As A substitution)
- 50g Parmesan Cheese
- 50g Mature Cheddar
- 3 Large Eggs
- 350g Tagliatelle/ Fettuccine
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves
- 50g Unsalted Butter
- Black Pepper (To Taste)
- Parsley (To Garnish)
- Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Roughly chop the ham/pancetta or bacon, having first removing any rind. Finely grate both cheeses and mix them together. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, season with a little freshly grated black pepper and set everything aside.
- Add 1 tsp salt to the boiling water, add the pasta and when the water comes back to the boil, cook at a constant simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until al dente.
- Drop the butter into a large wide frying pan and, as soon as the butter has melted, tip in the ham and garlic. Leave these to cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often. (If you’re not a massive fan of garlic like I am, rather than chopping, bruise the garlic and after the 5 minutes of cooking, remove all the garlic as it has now left its flavour.
- Low the heat to a simmer and when the pasta is ready lift it from the water with a pasta fork or tongs and put it in the frying pan. Reserve the remainder of the pasta cooking water.
- Mix the cheese in with the eggs. Take the pan off the heat as this may cause the eggs to scramble. Now quickly pour in the eggs and cheese and, using the tongs or a long fork, lift up the spaghetti so it mixes easily with the egg mixture, which thickens but doesn’t scramble, and everything is coated. Add extra pasta cooking water to keep a nice consistency.
- Serve immediately and garnish with parsley.