Cheese, cheese, cheese and more cheese, can’t seem to get away from it at the moment. Can’t say that it’s a bad thing however especially when you pair it with my home made pancetta and some spaghetti. This recipe is a cheese fest that takes very little amount of effort to create and is great for feeding a lot of people with empty stomachs.
So my pancetta has been consumed and so far so good; no deaths or dickie tums. There are a fair few things that I would change but the baseline recipe is all good and above all edible. The next iteration will be a flavour infused meat bomb but you will have to wait for a while until I get three tonnes of cheese out of the fridge. This carbonara will shift a fair bit of that surplus.
For this recipe you will need to gather the following ingredients:
- 500 g Spaghetti (brass dye variety)
- 4 duck egg yolks
- 150 g Grated Pecorino
- 70 g Grated mature Cheddar
- 70 g Grated Emmental
- 70 g Chopped Brie
- 100 g cubed ;lo-090Pancetta (use bacon if not available)
- 4 Cloves of black garlic
- 2 tbsp Freshly ground black pepper
- The best extra virgin olive oil you can get your hands on
- Chopped chives
The first step is to put on a large pot of water on the boil for the spaghetti. The reason for the brass type variety is for better sauce pickup. When the pasta is pushed through a plastic dye the outside texture is very smooth, but if a brass dye is used the outside gets all ruffled up and has a very rough texture. This allows for a greater surface area for the sauce to cling to.
Mix the cheeses, duck yolks (for added richness), ground pepper and mashed up black garlic. The black garlic is a revelation to me; it has a deep molasses/brown sugar flavour with some background light garlic hum, kind of like you get from baked garlic but a lot more complex. You can get this stuff from most supermarkets and try it for yourself.
When the water for the pasta comes to the boil put on a large frying pan and pour a small amount of oil into it to brown the pancetta. Try and time it so that the pancetta will be brown by the time the pasta comes out, the spaghetti should be just shy of al dente.
One very important step in this is the retention of the starchy cooking liquid from the spaghetti as this will form the basis of the cheese carbonara sauce.
Once the pasta is ready and the pan with the pancetta is hot you should transfer all the pasta to the frying pan and take everything off the heat. This allows for the addition of the cheesy mixture in a way that will not curdle the egg yolks. The mixture will not mix into the pasta very easily and that is where the starchy water will be used to loosen everything up. Add three ladles of the pasta water to the frying pan and mix until combined, keep adding and mixing until the sauce is a runny velvety consistency.
Serve with a drizzling of the best olive oil you can get your hands on, a peppery one if possible, garnished with some chopped chives. The resulting flavour should be a cheesy, salty, peppery, tangy sauce with intermittent nuggets of pancetta. Set aside some side for a little nap after you have eaten this as you will need it.