Recipe: Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Spaghetti for two people (I have a nifty spaghetti measurer so don't know how much exactly)
1x pack chopped pancetta or 6 rashers of smoked bacon chopped into lardons
1x large handful mushrooms, halved and sliced (I used Tesco's special "forestiére", but chestnut would be fine)
1x generous handful grated hard cheese such as parmesan or pecorino romano - about 2in off a block
2x egg yolks
50ml double cream
A few sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Put a large pan of salted water on to boil (for the pasta).
Chop the bacon (if required) and the mushrooms and set to one side.
For the sauce, mix the egg yolks, cream and half the cheese in a bowl, season to taste, and set aside.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan (about 35cm) and fry off the bacon and mushrooms until crispy. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti (once the water is boiled) as per the pack instructions - usually anywhere between 7 and 12 minutes depending on the brand). Add the thyme to the bacon and mushrooms about halfway through.
When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it off, reserving some of the cooking water.
Toss the spaghetti in the pan with the bacon and mushrooms to ensure it is covered in all the juices, and add about a ladleful of the cooking water.
Remove from the heat (this is important!) and then add the sauce, tossing the spaghetti to coat it. Add a bit more of the cooking water if required, and the rest of the cheese.
It wasn't as good as at Bella Italia (obviously) and I personally though it could have done with less cheese, but frankly parmesan is hard to measure when you're grating it in a food processor from a block. :P The trick is not to overcook the sauce because the eggs will scramble and it will go lumpy. I managed that part at least. And for a first attemp it was actually really nice.
As an added bonus, the timing was perfect for my garlic bread, too (which I make from partially defrosted part-bake baguettes covered in lots and lots of garlic butter, except the timing of them varies depending on the level of defrostedness).
So yeah, very tasty. :)
Last night I attempted to synch the laptop with the printer upstairs, which failed because the desktop PC crashed the first time. I have now uninstalled the troublesome Virgin Media protection software (it shouted at me when it updated because we weren't with Virgin any more for internet access, still loaded but ate resources and periodically made everything freeze) and installed the free, resource-light Webroot software that we got free from e-buyer when we bought the laptop. So now I think I can print from the laptop to the printer upstairs, though I haven't tested it yet. ;)
Also I forgot to mention this amusing thing that happened a few weeks ago when we took David to Carluccio's for his birthday meal. My mum picked us up from the house and we drove into Birmingham. For some reason City Road was backed up with traffic (on a Sunday afternoon) so she turned around and headed down a side street towards Hagley Road instead. We accidentally went speeding over a hump-back bridge that she hadn't realised was there, resulting in several minutes of hysterical giggling as the car was suddenly airborne. :D
Okay, that's about it. Over and out.