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Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

An authentic Italian dish from British chef Heston Blumenthal. "Outside Italy a carbonara is often considered to be pasta with a ham and cream sauce. Italians would consider this a travesty, and I would agree with them. A carbonara sauce should consist of pancetta, garlic, beaten eggs and grated Parmesan (or perhaps Pecorino). Here I've added onions, chili and peas for flavour, colour and texture."

4 servings

2 tbsp salt
3/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1–2 fresh red chilies (depending on how hot you want it), de-veined, de-seeded and finely chopped
8 oz. pancetta lardons*
14 oz. spaghetti
6 medium egg yolks
1-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for serving
9 oz. frozen peas
Salt and black pepper

* You could also replace the pancetta with smoked or nonsmoked bacon or a few anchovy fillets, and the peas with fresh soya beans, broad beans, thinly sliced runner beans or broccoli florets, all pre-cooked.


Step 1: Fill a large saucepan with 16 cups cold tap water and add the salt. Cover with a lid and place over a medium-high heat to bring to the boil.

Step 2: In the meantime, put the olive oil, onions, garlic and chili into a large frying pan and place it over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes before adding the pancetta. Cook for a further 5 minutes or until the onion has lightly caramelized.

Step 3: Once the water comes to the boil, add the spaghetti and stir it every few minutes to prevent it from sticking together. After approximately 7 minutes, whisk the egg yolks and Parmesan together in a bowl and add a ladle of the pasta water.

Step 4: A minute or so before the spaghetti is cooked, take the pancetta and onions off the heat and add the frozen peas.

Step 5: Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Add the contents of the frying pan along with the egg and cheese mixture, and mix together. Allow to sit for 2 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Step 6: Stir thoroughly to incorporate everything, then serve with more grated Parmesan sprinkled on top.

See more recipes from Heston Blumenthal.

Reprinted with permission from Heston Blumenthal at Home (2011 Bloomsbury).


Heston Blumenthal

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