Carbonara with pancetta and chorizo (#14)

I had the most extraordinary craving for this the other day. I actually made this for the first time in Italy, on a cheeky holiday in Venice back in March. However, many moons later and firmly back on English soil my mind wandered back to those great evenings cooking in the Airbnb and I thought ‘I could do with that right about now’.

Of course, carbonara is pretty easy to make, but believe it or not it had never really been on my list of things to cook. I think I’d had a bad experience in a restaurant a few years ago. I believe ordering carbonara in an Italian restaurant is like ordering a Korma in an Indian. A waste of good money and time.

I took this one from Jamie, who I oddly saw at an Ed Sheeran concert last month. I’ve added my own little take on it, leaving the dish only 90% Italian with the remainder consisting of my favourite Iberian ingredient, chorizo!

Good things: yes this one is super quick and easy (I say this a lot), but you can genuinely go from store cupboard to dinner table in less than 20 minutes.

Bad things: there is a tricky bit, and that’s adding the sauce at the end. If it’s too hot you’ll get scrambled egg and not the lovely golden yellow covering you craved.

Ingredients (for one person, yes I’m a fatty):

  • 120g of spaghetti (dry weight)
  • 2 eggs (you only need the yolks!)
  • 30g-35g of Parmesan cheese (finely grated), and extra for serving
  • 75g pancetta (half of a standard pack of diced pancetta will do!)
  • 25g chorizo
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • olive oil

Required:

  • saucepan for pasta
  • wok / saucepan / deep frying pan
  • 1 bowl
  • 1 mug
  • Pyrex jug

Preparation

  1. Whack the saucepan on the hob with salted water ready for the spaghetti
  2. Finely grate the Parmesan into the bowl.
  3. Use the mug to help you separate the eggs so that you can put the 2 yolks onto the Parmesan, season with pepper, and the mix with a fork until it sits in a nice eggy ball.
  4. I bought my pancetta pre-diced (life is too short), but I’d dice it if you haven’t already. You will need to dice the chorizo, and set that aside with the pancetta.
  5. Peel the garlic, and crush.

Cooking

  1.  Whack the spaghetti  in the now boiling saucepan – it’ll be ready in 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, put the wok on a medium heat. Halfway through the spaghetti cooking time whack in some olive oil and the garlic and fry for 1 minute.
  3. With 4 mins now to spare, bin the garlic and add the pancetta and chorizo cubes in its place.
  4. Once the spaghetti is done, use the pyrex jug to keep some of that lovely cooking water! (Don’t forget!) Then drain the spaghetti and then add it to the wok with the cooking pancetta and chorizo. Toss well and get it covered in the red-ish juices that are sitting in the pan, then remove entirely from the heat.
  5. Add a splash of cooking water from the pyrex (you probably won’t need most of what you’ve saved). Toss it all together and season with some more pepper if you’d like.
  6. Finally, add that egg mixture to the now slightly cooled pan and the slightly wet spaghetti will allow you to mix it round into a nice sauce that covers the pasta. If required, feel free to add a splash more of the cooking water.
  7. Serve with any additional Parmesan – I just love cheese!

Reflections

What’s not to love? I have made it hurridly since and buggered up that last part, scrambling the egg. But I had consumed a couple of G&Ts and Thames Water had cut off my water supply to do some sort of work that I assume was not as important as my dinner… anywho, once my connection to the mains was resumed I was hungry and rushed it on a high heat. I trust you won’t do the same!

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