Friday, 17 January 2014


After the success of the last Pinterest recipe - I thought I should try another one from the website and as we had eaten the healthy fish, now was time for something not so light - pasta carbonara - Arabella's favourite.  Pascal normally cooks his own recipe which I have to admit is excellent however I liked the look of this one as it has peas in it….a bit of green never does you any harm. I actually recognised this recipe from Jamie's Dinners cookbook although as I lost that book in the divorce I never had the chance to cook it! (Had I known I was going to turn into a bit of a chef I wouldn't have given up the cookbooks so easily)!!!

I followed the recipe as it was written and although it was very tasty, a few alterations are needed to make it perfect!

Ingredients for 4 people:

500g pasta - I used fusilli but you could easily use penne or farfelle instead
1 egg
150ml double cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
14 rashers of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon (when I do this again I will use 500g lardons which is a bit more than Jamie suggests)
4 big handfuls of fresh podded or frozen peas (don't be shy)
3 sprigs of fresh mint leaves, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (as much as you like - I even had grated cheddar cheese too - such a piglet)!

The recipe suggests frying the bacon however I grilled it as it is slightly healthier. This took the longest time as I had to cook it in 2 batches and each batch took about 8 minutes each. Next time I would buy lardons and fry them as it would be a lot easier and less time consuming.

While the bacon is grilling, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. If you have dry pasta it is best to put it on while you are cooking the first batch of bacon as it will take about 10-12 minutes (check the packet instructions). 

I used fresh pasta which took 4 minutes so I only started cooking it when the bacon was nearly finished. 

If I were to use lardons I would start cooking them first and after a few minutes start the pasta, as the lardons take about 7/8 minutes.

While the pasta cooks chop the mint (I used scissors) and once the bacon is cooked roughly slice it - (I used scissors once again, so much easier). Then start whisking the egg and cream together.

It doesn't matter what order you do this - you could even whisk the egg and cream and chop the mint before you start cooking everything - if you are cooking alone this could be the easiest and less stressful option (I always get quite uptight when everything has to be done at once and find preparation is key although here I was lucky enough to have my sous-chef Pascal).

Add the peas to the pasta for the last minute and a half - this way they will burst in your mouth and taste lovely and sweet. 

Once this is cooked, drain in a colander but make sure you save a little of the cooking water.

In the big pan, add in most of the mint, all the bacon and the whisked egg and cream. It's important to add this while the pasta is still hot.

Then mix all together and add some salt and pepper (definitely needed pepper) and some of the reserved cooking water if necessary to loosen it up - I added about half a cup's worth (loving how pretty it looks)!

Sprinkle with Parmesan and the rest of the mint leaves and serve as soon as possible!

Delicious - the mint and the peas make this recipe - the carbonara does not feel heavy at all and instead tastes so fresh - Pascal & I loved it. Arabella says she would prefer it without the mint but she loved the peas (but as life isn't fair I would still add the mint)! 

I will definitely be cooking this again although I would add more bacon/lardons as I mentioned earlier. This was a perfect recipe - very yummy and very easy!

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