JACKY'S SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA
The origins of this recipe are obscure and there are many urban legends associated with it. Some say it was made for Italian charcoal-makers, others that it was devised for American soldiers stationed in Italy during the war, who demanded a pasta dish with bacon and eggs. Whatever its origins, it's a tasty and simple dish, but like so many tasty and simple dishes, it is important to make it properly. There are a number of variants too: some recipes call for the use of cream, others for egg yolks only, the inclusion of mushrooms, peas or broccoli.
This is my friend Jacky's version. She includes a little chilli, which gives the sauce a nice kick. I like to serve it with a handful of rocket and a drizzle of chilli oil. And, of course, lots of freshly grated Parmesan. The sauce should not be runny: it should just coat the strands of pasta with its golden eggy-ness.
Approx 225g of dried pasta (spaghetti is not obligatory: I like to make this with big Penne)
150g smoked pancetta, bacon, or lardons
1 large egg, beaten
About 1 tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
About 1 tsbp fresh chilli, finely chopped, or chilli flakes (bottled or dried)
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water. Meanwhile, fry the bacon until it's crisp. Just before it's done, add the chilli. Mix the beaten egg with the cheese. Drain the pasta and return it to the cooking pan and immediately add the bacon and then the egg mixture. Stir to ensure the pasta is well-coated with sauce. Serve with plenty of freshly grated cheese.