I made this spaghetti last night for dinner. My cousin Cathy sent me a recipe for spaghetti carbonara she found in The Guardian newspaper. She is in town for a visit and loves spaghetti carbonara, so I thought I would make it for her and it was absolutely delicious. There are many versions of this classic recipe and the key to a great carbonara is to use the best bacon and parmesan that you can afford. So in my version I used an alder smoked, thick cut bacon and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. You don’t want the bacon to be too salty, just flavorful and I’m not sure pancetta ( Italian bacon) would be my bacon of choice, not enough flavor, but that’s up to you.
500 grams dried spaghetti
4 tablespoons grape seed oil
400 grams or about 2 cups of thick cut bacon, julienned or cut into thin strips(cut across the width of the bacon)-I used alder smoked thick cut bacon-Tip: I find bacon easier to cut into small uniform pieces when it is slightly frozen and firm.
2 small leeks, washed and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed.
1/2 teaspoon of dried chili flakes- I used aleppo chili pepper- any chili pepper flakes will work.
200 ml or about 3/4 cup of whipping cream
4 medium eggs or 3 large eggs
Sea salt and pepper
1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Add the spaghetti to a large pan of salted boiling water, stir after a minute, then cook as instructed on the packet.
Gently heat the oil in another large pan, add the bacon and cook it until it starts to brown and render (the fat is melting away and leaving just the meat behind). Add the leek and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, don’t brown the leek and garlic just cook until softened. Sprinkle in the dried chili, remove the pan from the heat and leave to one side. Remove the garlic cloves if you are worried about someone getting a whole garlic clove in their bowl.
Beat the cream and eggs together with a fork or small whisk.
When the pasta is ready, drain in a colander to remove excess water. Don’t let it sit too long, you have a few minutes before it starts to stick together. If is does get sticky pour over a little olive oil to separate the spaghetti. Time things carefully, making sure your bacon and leek mixture is finished cooking.
Put the bacon and leeks back on a gentle heat, then add the pasta, eggs and cream. Immediately remove from the heat and mixing well , allow the residual heat to cook the eggs.
Important: Make sure to immediately take everything off the heat after you have added the egg/cream mixture or you will have lumpy scrambled eggs in your sauce. The sauce should be creamy.
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the parsley and parmesan.