miss ene cooks: Carbonara pasta

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)

  1. Put a large pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt.
  2. Cook pasta according to the packet instructions.
  3. 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.
  4. Heat a large frying pan (large enough for you to toss and mix the pasta when it is ready).
  5. 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).
  6. 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.

  1. Turn off the flame for your pan (pan will still be hot).
  2. Toss the cooked pasta into the pan and mix it all up.
  3. 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!).
  4. Stir everything together quickly.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.

3 thoughts on “miss ene cooks: Carbonara pasta

  1. real carbonara has no cream!!! and suggest not stirring everything in your hot pan, you might end up with scrambled eggs :O

    an easier way would be to temper your eggs with the pasta water, just one teaspoon and stir to bring up to heat and toss hot pasta in sauce. creamy and smooth with no clumps of egg!

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