Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spaghetti carbonara

Felicity Cloake's instructions on "How to cook the perfect spaghetti carbonara" look pretty good to me. My version has only slight differences - matters of preference rather than disagreement.

I'd use just two eggs, not bothering with the extra yoke. And I'd probably use a bit more pancetta, because I like it so much.

I'd put just a tiny bit of oil in a pan, and fry the pancetta with the clove of garlic, cut in half; I'd fish out the garlic later. The point is not to have to start with a tbsp of oil, because the pancetta will give off a lot of fat of its own.

If the pancetta is cooked before your pasta is ready, turn off the heat. But turn it back on again as you're about to drain the pasta. Toss the pasta and the pancetta in the hot pan, and turn off the heat again. The contents should be able to curdle the eggs, but not so hot that they stick.

I prefer to keep the eggs and the cheese separate. Tip the eggs over the spaghetti and pancetta, toss until the strands of pasta are coated with curdled egg, and then toss with the cheese.

I like the idea of taking a cup of cooking water from the pasta pan. I've always kept some of the water by draining the pasta over the pan. But it's easier to control the quantity if you pour from a cup - an important advantage when all you need is just enough to loosen the texture.

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