Now there's carbonara and there's carbonara. The first type can be found in supermarket ready meals and the pots of fresh pasta sauce in the chiller cabinets. Then there's the second type. The real thing. The problem with the first type is that there is always just too much sauce. Done right your spaghetti should just be lightly coated with a mixture of eggs, parmesan and possibly a little bit of cream. And that's where Nigella Lawson steps in with her fabulous recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara in How to Eat. I know most Carbonara recipes include garlic and hardly any use wine but I still think this one is the best. This is a summary of Nigella's original recipe
From Nigella Lawson's How to Eat
100g pancetta, cubed
4 tablespoons parmesan
4 tablespoons vermouth or white wine
1 egg yolk
1 whole egg
4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
Pepper and nutmeg
Approx 20g/1 mounded tablespoon butter
1) Cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling water.
2) Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil and add the pancetta. Fry for about five minutes until beginning to crisp. Add the vermouth or wine and let it bubble away for about three minutes then remove from the heat
3) In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, parmesan, pepper and nutmeg.
4) When the pasta is cooked quickly put the bacon pan back on the heat and add the butter. Add the pasta to the pan and mix to cover it with oil. Take the pan off the heat. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and quickly mix together so the sauce lightly covers all the strands of pasta.
Serves 2 (Nigella suggests this serves two for lunch and one for dinner but I think you'd have to be extremely hungry to manage this all by yourself!).
I don't bother buying a whole piece of pancetta and chopping it up myself. Instead I buy the little packs of ready-cubed pancetta from the supermarket. Also, I tend to prefer Nigella's alternative suggestion to the above recipe. Instead of using one egg yolk and one whole egg I use two egg yolks and add two tablespoons of cream in place of the egg white. I think it gives the dish a nicer dish texture although, as Nigella advises in her book, this makes it less of a storecupboard supper.
I have a plan for the leftover egg whites which I will post about at a later date.