This is one of my all-time favourite comfort foods. If I’m feeling cold/ill/tired/a bit miserable/just bloody hungry this is what springs to mind. Garlicky, creamy, salty, cheesy, yum. It is quick, easy and you only have two pans to wash up afterwards, brilliant.
Clove of garlic, chopped
Smoked bacon (1 rasher per person), diced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
Cream, roughly 150ml
1 – 2 egg yolks (again this comes down to personal preference – I like it “eggy”, Tim prefers more cream)
Cheese, grated – I prefer parmesan or pecorino
Put spaghetti on to boil in a big pan of salted water – by the time you have chopped and fried the bacon and mushrooms it will be about done.
Fry the bacon in a little oil at a relatively high heat until nice and crispy. Turn the heat down to medium, add mushrooms and garlic to the same pan and fry up together. If you like add a small knob of butter to the mushrooms as you cook them; mushrooms definitely taste better cooked in butter and they’ll also soak up the bacon flavour from the pan beautifully.
Drain pasta when cooked, put it back into the saucepan and add fried bacon, mushrooms and garlic. Add enough cream to give you more of a slippery coating on the pasta, rather than so much it turns into a cream sauce. Grate the cheese in (how much entirely depends on your tastes), and mix together.
Add egg yolk and stir in quickly. Make sure you add the yolk after the cream; this gives the pasta a chance to cool slightly and your egg will have a chance to coat the pasta without cooking too quickly. Otherwise you can have little chunks of scrambled egg instead; still tasty but not quite what you want! Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
TOP TIP: Have your plates warmed through ready to serve the carbonara – as you’ve already slightly cooled the dish to avoid curdling the egg, if you use cold plates you will find your carbonara chills rather too quickly!