Are there any Italians reading this? No doubt if there are you are all shouting ‘What!?! Come on Kate! This is not Spaghetti alla Carbonara! My family has been making this recipe for generations and this is definitely not Spaghetti alla Carbonara.’ I know, I’m happy to admit this is not at all authentic – I’ve ditched the guanciale and pecorino in favour of supermarket friendly bacon and parmesan and added a serious garlicky hit – but I have good reason.
It recently dawned on me that I have been writing a lot of blog posts on beautiful, creative recipes that I tend to spend time making in the weekends but this blog is seriously lacking all the weeknight staples that I go to again and again five out of seven nights. Far too often I insidiously slip into a weeknight food rut and then I get a great recipe book out of the library or find a great blog that kicks me out of it. I once even resorted to a scheme whereby they deliver to your door all the ingredients and recipes for a week worth of meals – I only lasted two weeks because despite the ease it was an incredible amount of money for what you got and the “gourmet” pack was far from gourmet. Are you like me? Do you get into these ruts too? Yes? Well here you are my friends, here is a weeknight staple of mine – Spaghetti alla Carbonara con Aglio (just a fancy way of saying Garlicky Spaghetti Carbonara but doesn’t sound so much better in Italian?). You’ll be seeing lots more tasty, inspiring weeknight meals up on My Little Larder that are easy to make, quick and most importantly yummy. As you know, I have a super small kitchen (1.9 sq metres / 20 sq feet), I have two (very busy) toddler boys and I like good food so you know they’ll be no fuss (i.e. when I say 15 min, they really are 15min, sorry Jamie I’m a massive fan and love you food but I’m now very sceptical when you say it only takes 15 min!). So I hope to see you back for more inspiring weeknight meals….and a little bit of occasional fuss, because it’s still fun to make pretty cakes and slow cooked delights in the weekend of course.
Back to the Spaghetti alla Carbonara con Aglio. Pasta is definitely a go-to meal in our house. It’s easy and always a crowd pleaser. My eldest boy (3 years old) doesn’t eat it, but he’s on a bit of a hunger strike right now and refuses to eat anything that isn’t bread, apple or, of course, chocolate. Otherwise my whole family inhales this – including my one year old. I’ve adapted the traditional recipe with ingredients I tend to always have in the fridge and cupboard (bacon, spaghetti, eggs and cheese) so even if you don’t have anything planned for dinner that night and you get home from work late, you can quickly whip up a delicious pasta, make a quick salad of rocket or whatever greens you have in your fridge and dinner is done.
I look forward to giving you all lots more delicious weeknight favourites but in the meantime enjoy the spaghetti.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara con Aglio
- 200 g/7oz dried spaghetti
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 200 g/7oz free-range pancetta or bacon cut into lardons or small strips
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 3 free-range egg yolks
- 70 g/2.5oz parmiganio-regiano parmesan cheese, finely grated + extra to serve
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
In a large fry pan add the olive oil and bacon and cook over medium heat until bacon is crispy, around 8-10 min. Add the crushed garlic to the pan and cook for another 1 minute.
While the bacon is cooking put a large pot of salted water on to boil. When it is boiling add the spaghetti and cook until al dente (check the packet but normally around 8 min for spaghetti). Drain the spaghetti and reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.
Add the spaghetti and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid to the frypan and toss. Add more cooking liquid if you think the spaghetti looks too dry. Remove from the heat then add the egg yolks. It is essential you remove the pan from the heat before you add the eggs so that instead of scrambling the eggs you gently cook them resulting in a lovely velvety, glossy sauce. Stir through the cheese.
Season with black pepper and serve immediately with extra cheese grated on top and a green salad on the side.
This recipe serves two but can easily be doubled or tripled.