- 1 packet of pasta (any type really)
- 1 packet of pancetta (or bacon lardons)
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh thyme
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 3 eggs
- 1 packet of peas
- Fresh basil (optional)
Carbonara has to be one of the most popular pasta dishes in the world, but 90% of restaurants and home cooks make a complete balls of it.
In Ireland, you typically get a huge plate overflowing with cream that bears no resemblance to the Italian original. Cooked correctly, it's possibly the simplest, quickest and tastiest of pasta dishes, and the perfect cheap dish to rustle up at home.
It really couldn’t be any simpler than this recipe, which you’ll cook from start to finish in about 10 minutes.
The ingredients are all super easy to find and, best of all, really cheap. Splash out a little and get decent bacon. I throw the basil in for a little extra flavour, but it's not essential.
Pull the leaves off the thyme. It'll take a while but it's well worth it, because you don't want any of those branch type bits in your pasta.
If the bacon isn't sliced up yet, do so (you can just as easily buy the bacon lardons).
Dice the garlic as finely as you can and that's all the big prep done already. Couldn't be much easier.
Heat up some oil in a large frying pan over a nice low heat.
Lash in the bacon, thyme and garlic.
Cook that really nice and slowly, and prepare to be blown away as the smell wafts around the house.
While that's cooking, lash the eggs into a bowl.
Grate a load of parmesan cheese (could use pecorino as well or a mixture of both, but that would be getting far more fancy than necessary).
Use a fork to beat the cheese and eggs together and set to one side.
Cook the pasta based on the instructions on the packet. I can't do everything for you!
When the bacon is cooked, pour in your peas. A good couple of handfuls.
Stir them all in. You only want to warm them up at this stage, rather than cooking them for ages, as they'll lose colour.
Chop the basil up as thin as you can and that's you more or less done.
Strain the pasta and throw it in to the pan. Don't overcook the pasta, that's essential.
The key to making the sauce nice and being a good Italian is to pour a half cup of the pasta cooking water into the sauce.
Stir it all together making sure the flavours are all combined.
Pour in your egg mixture and take it straight off the heat. If you don't, the danger is you just end up with scrambled eggs.
Stir the whole mixture together. Season it up with some salt (careful as the cheese will be salty already) and loads of black pepper.
Serve it up immediately. You'll have enough for a few portions here and as you can see, it took absolutely no time at all! Once you know how to do this, you'll get even quicker.
So that's really all there is to it, you really couldn’t mess this one up.
While it's the perfect midweek dinner to rustle up, it's also just a great one for any evening you don't feel like putting too much effort into your meal.
Just because it's quick to prepare, though, don't think you're missing anything in flavour. Absolutely fecking delicious.