I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making spaghetti carbonara. It was only later in life that I learnt how to appreciate a good plate of carbonaa pasta, usually choosing to have the tomato-based pasta over a cream sauce one. These days, I’m more inclined to order a cream sauce pasta over a tomato one as I’ve learnt that a well-cooked plate of cream sauce pasta is so damn yummy!
I’ve bought bottled cream sauce before but found it too salty and honestly, quite yucky. Yesterday afternoon, I decided that I’d make dinner and when I asked the boy what he wants to have, he wrote “Carbonara”?
Carbonara it shall be then.
At lunch, I headed to NTUC to pick up the crucial ingredients needed – cream, Parmesan cheese and bacon. Everything else, I had at home. Thanks to my colleague Miss Hobbes, she passed me this recipe from Jamie Oliver which she claimed was easy and yummy. It looked easy enough but I was still a tad nervous. One wrong step and it’d be a disaster. Urgh.
I did tweak the recipe somewhat though:
- swiss mushrooms instead of courgettes
- thickened cream from Bulla instead of double cream (I think it’s the same?)
- fettucine instead of penne, mixed Italian herbs from the bottle instead of thyme (don’t have any!)
- grated Parmesan cheese from the packet.
- added chopped garlic
Also, I halved the quantity of everything in the recipe because I realised that 500gm of pasta is A LOT OF PASTA FOR 2 PERSONS! Also, as it is a cream-based, I didn’t want us to feel sick from eating too much of it.
And here’s the result:
Looks pretty darn good, doesn’t it? If I may say so myself, I thought it was yummy! The boy gave it the thumbs-up too. He quipped that it is better than my tomato-based version. Ahhhh. Ok, it is definitely not the most healthy and one should really not eat it on a daily basis but it is delicious as a quick weekday dinner. And yes, it was amazingly easy!
Here’s the original recipe from Jamie Oliver and here’s the miss ene version:
Fettucine carbonara with Swiss mushrooms
Ingredients (for 2 persons)
- 200g fettucine (depends on how much pasta you prefer; use any type of pasta you like/have!)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 50ml thickened cream from Bulla (can get from NTUC or any supermarket)
- 1 good handful of grated Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
- 5 slices of streaky bacon, cut into 1.5cm slices (you can adjust the quantity according to how much bacon you like)
- 4 Swiss mushrooms (or any mushrooms that you like)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (for seasoning)
- Optional: Sprinkling of Italian herbs (from the bottle)
Method (largely following Jamie Oliver’s steps with my own notes)
- Put a large pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt.
- Cook pasta according to the packet instructions.
- Prepare the creamy carbonara sauce: Mix egg yolks, cream and HALF the parmesan cheese together with a fork. Season with pinch of salt (not too much as the cheese is also salty) and a dash of black pepper. Put aside.
- Heat a large frying pan (large enough for you to toss and mix the pasta when it is ready).
- Add enough olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and fry the garlic and bacon. Be careful not to burn the garlic (I used medium-low flame). Throw in the mushrooms and fry till mushrooms are soft and smells yummy. Add a dash of pepper (optional).
- Once you are done/almost done frying, your pasta should be ready. Drain them and reserve a bit of the cooking water (don’t throw them away yet!).
VERY IMPORTANT NEXT STEPS: This is where you need to work swiftly for the dish to succeed.
- Turn off the flame for your pan (pan will still be hot).
- Toss the cooked pasta into the pan and mix it all up.
- Add in the creamy carbonara sauce you prepared in step #3 along with a small spoonful of water (don’t add too much first – you can always add more but cannot reduce if you add too much!).
- Stir everything together quickly.
- While stirring, add in the remaining parmesan cheese and if required, a bit more of the cooking water. You will see your carbonara pasta taking shape. Yippee!
- Make sure that whoever you are making this meal for is ready to eat because it is best eaten fresh. Otherwise, it will become cold, sticky and gross.