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."
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).