Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Ultimate Comfort Food - Spaghetti Carbonara!

We eat a lot of pasta in this house easily 3-4 times a week. Mr. Grad gets withdrawal if he doesn't eat a big steaming bowl of pasta at least once every 2 days. Left to his own devices I'm pretty sure pasta would be his sole food source for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Myself, I love pasta but I can't eat it everyday, I get bored with eating the same food too often. I do have a good repertoire of pasta dishes, most of them are really simple and quick and totally delicious.It's a really cheap way of eating too, you can buy giant 3kg bags of pasta for around £3-4 from the supermarkets which will feed you for a good few weeks! We always have a couple in the cupboard, it's even better value when they run promotional offers and you can pick up a bag for £2!

What I love about Italian cooking is that it doesn't have to be expensive and fancy, in fact expensive and fancy is pretty much the antithesis of Italian cooking! It's all about simple food with good ingredients that are healthy and delicious Pasta is quite central to Italian food and its eaten in one form or another most days. There is also something so comforting about sitting down to a big old bowl of pasta surrounded by family all laughing and joking and sharing in the deliciousness in front of you.

So, Spaghetti Carbonara, we've all heard of it. Spaghetti, Eggs and Bacon combined to make an amazingly delicious dish that ticks all the boxes, cheap, easy, quick, yummy. But, on the market there are some just awful imitations, really I've never understood the need to buy Carbonara Sauce in a jar, it's full of sugar, salt and unnecessary ingredients and additives. Then there are the ready meals that you cook in the microwave, one look at the bowl and its just so unappetizing, a gloopy white mess with stringy things in it... yuck! You can even buy the whole meal in a can, you know the famous baked beans brand, horrifying! We jokingly took a tin of it back for one of Mr. Grad's friends, 4 years later he still dare not open it! Seriously people it takes 4 ingredients to make your own (plus the spaghetti) and I guarantee you it's 1000x better!

Carbonara is probably Mr. Grads go to comfort food and I often make it for him at the weekend when he's home for lunch and it always goes down particularly well. Sometimes if he's had a tough day at work I'll make it for dinner, although I don't usually partake in that meal, it's a bit too heavy for me in the evening! But that eggy, carby goodness seems to cheer him right up, or it might be the glass or two of wine... but lets go with the carbonara shall we? 

Spaghetti Carbonara. Serves 2.

You need just 5 ingredients for this. This recipe serves 2 but it's so easily doubled or even tripled (just make sure you have a big enough pan!) that you can serve at an intimate meal for two or for a bunch of friends.

  • 2 eggs
  • 50ml Milk
  • 50g Pancetta cubes  or 2 slices of Bacon, diced. 
  • 50g Parmesan - grated
  • 150-200g Spaghetti (depending on how greedy hungry you are!)
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Bring a large pan of slightly salted water to the boil and add the Spaghetti. Cook for the time stated on the packet.
  2. While the Spaghetti is cooking, heat a splash of olive oil in a large pan over a medium/low heat. Add the Pancetta and allow to cook until golden and a little crispy.
  3. Meanwhile in a jug or bowl add the Milk, Eggs and 40g of the Parmesan and beat with a fork until well combined. Season with Salt and Pepper.
  4. Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the Pancetta and cook for a minute, stirring to coat.
  5. Pour over the Milk and Egg mix and toss together really well until each strand is coated, cook for a minute or so until the eggs are cooked through but not too dry.
  6. Divide between two plates, top with the remaining Parmesan . 
  7. Serve and eat immediately! 

**Apologies for the photos, it's pretty hard to make spaghetti look good! Especially when you have no natural light in the room.

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