With pasta sauces, less is more. But sometimes, nutrition is as important a consideration as authenticity. With two daughters to feed, and having in the house the ingredients for a carbonara and only a few vegetables (including the remnants of a packet of frozen petit-pois), I produced this. Our tastes are not particularly refined. Serves 3.
150g pancetta, cubed
1/4 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 banana shallots, finely sliced
Bunch of purple sprouting broccoli, sliced from the top, with the toughest parts of the lower stems discarded
70g frozen petit pois
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Scraping of nutmeg
50g parmesan or pecorino, grated
Salt and pepper
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, salt it generously, and immerse the spaghetti, allowing the submerged portions to soften so you can stir in the rest. Cook at a lively boil, stirring regularly.
Meanwhile, gently fry the pancetta in a heavy pan in a splash of oil. Allow it to brown and shed its fat, then throw in the garlic and shallots. Stir regularly. The shallots should soften in four to five minutes.
Keep testing the spaghetti. (The packet instructions will give a rough guide to the cooking time, but cannot be taken as definitive.) When it is nearly ready, throw in the broccoli and peas. After a further minute and a half, tip the contents of the pan into a colander.
Tip the drained spaghetti, broccoli and peas into the pan with the pancetta and shallots. Toss everything. Turn off the heat, and pour in the eggs (to which you have added the nutmeg, and possibly salt and pepper – but go easy with the salt). Toss again, until the spaghetti mixture is coated with lightly curdled egg. Tip in the cheese, and toss again.