In our house, we call it Christmas Carbonara because I always make it on Christmas Eve. It’s a treasured family tradition that we daren’t mess with. If you were to make it, there would be nothing festive about it. That’s why it’s okay that I’m posting the recipe in February.
A few things before I start:
1. This is not (exactly) my recipe, it’s based on Jamie Oliver’s Classic Penne Carbonara from Happy Days with the Naked Chef, except I’ve made a couple of things easier for us all and eliminated the need for a kitchen scales (…ain’t nobody got time for that!)
2. This recipe contains cream. Before you get on your culinary high-horse, I know real Carbonara isn’t supposed to have cream but that fact doesn’t make this particular recipe any less delicious. It’s okay to use cream sometimes. It’s Christmas (or not, whatever…)
3. For a dish with so little ingredients, it’s really important for them to be good quality. I don’t mean to lecture, but the taste completely depends on that. Don’t ruin your life with substandard cheese. Life is far too hard and short as it is, without having to deal with bad cheese.
3. That’s obviously not me, or my Carbonara in the picture above (and I use Penne, not Spaghetti), but that picture encapsulates what this dish is all about. It’s simple and unassuming and it’s made by someone who cares about you and wants to serve you a bowl of kindness. There’s love in this dish.
Christmas Carbonara (serves 4)
What you’ll need:
500g (1 bag) dried penne (De Cecco or another good quality pasta)
10 slices of smoky bacon rashers
6 egg yolks (genius trick for separately eggs here)
250ml carton of fresh cream
150g (approx.) Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cook the penne according to packet instructions
- While the pasta is cooking, fry the rashers in a little olive oil until crispy. Break it up a bit with a knife and fork and set aside
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs yolks, cream and half the parmesan
- When the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot with the egg mixture and the bacon pieces. Make sure you do this immediately so the residual heat from the pasta will cook the eggs, but still leave the sauce silky. (If you heat it over direct heat, you could end up with a ‘scrambled’ sauce)
- Season well with salt and fresh black pepper and serve immediately with the remaining parmesan
- Rocket, semi-sundried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts with a balsamic dressing is a nice accompanying salad (if you’re feeling energetic)