Yeah, I said it.
You know those people who tell you to make carbonara sauce without cream because it makes you fat? Or because you can make it just as creamy without it? Well I say to hell with them.
Usually, recipes nowadays will tell you to just spoon some pasta water onto your bacon and pasta with the eggs, and you will get all the silky-smoothness that you need. But for me, cream adds a kick. A little bit of sweetness, completed with black pepper (a lot of black pepper!) and you have me hooked.
My take on carbonara is creamy, and when I say creamy, I mean sticky, silky and when you spoon it onto your plate, it makes a sound that just makes you drool. Now of course I’m not suggesting the extreme – when I first made carbonara, I admit, I got a bit carried away with cream and the sauce was so heavy that, had I stepped into it, I probably would have left a shoe. Tasty, but maybe a bit excessive.
So, first of all, this is how it turned out:
I know, right? You can even tell what it sounded like.
I would give you a recipe, but to be perfectly honest, I think a description will work better here. I started by cooking my pasta in salted water (it really makes such a difference) and in the meantime, started to fry my bacon.
In Hungary, when we buy bacon, it is usually very thinly sliced – with a little oil, it turns crisp very quickly and easily. Delicious. In England, to my surprise, I found that bacon found in shops has a rather different consistency. Instead of thin slices, it tends to be a lot more thickly sliced and when fried without oil, it will actually just remain pink, no matter how long you cook it. So I do like to add a splash of oil to help the crisping process.
I also added the black pepper to the cooking bacon. It is really good to start off the all-over peppery taste here instead of waiting with the seasoning until the pasta is cooked.
When the pasta is ready, I add it to the bacon and turn the heat way down. I don’t want to fry my pasta, I just want to mix really – and this is where I ladle a spoonful of that delicious pasta water onto the mixture. It is good to season with salt and pepper here – probably the easiest moment to season and mix anyhow!
Meanwhile, I mixed the two eggs with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese and when that is all whisked together (oh, yeah… lots of whisking for me in this recipe), I add more black pepper (once again, this is just me – I love pepper). Finally, incorporate a generous amount of cream. I used a bit of a Julia Child-like approach here: I have no measurements, I just go for taste. “Never apologise!” worked this time. Here I got to whisk some more vigorously, and more, and more and… okay. Time to add this to the pasta.
Top it off with more cheese! Cheese is good. More cheese is even better. Also, don’t use basil – it would just feel weird, wouldn’t it? All this whiteness with the greenness. Instead, add freshly chopped parsley. Goes better with it in my opinion.
Easy recipe? Yeah. Fun? Definitely.
Was it good?
Well is that even a question?