Purists will tell you that the only way to cook an authentic Roman carbonara is with bacon and eggs. But I’ve never been a purist: it strikes me as telling the rest of the world what to do. Here in the Recipe Shed our philosophy is flexibility, experiment, enjoy.
Which brings us to this magnificent, far-from-pure take on a spaghetti carbonara.
One twist is to use poached eggs to make the sauce. Another is to add chilli. And another, a touch of rosemary. And finally a glass of wine to add a piquant depth.
It is an exceptional carbonara, even if purists wouldn’t approve.
2 large free-range eggs
Dried spaghetti, enough for two people
150g smoked bacon, thick cut (back or streaky), sliced into 1cm x 2cm strips
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red finger chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp dried rosemary, ground to a powder
1 glass white wine
100ml double cream
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leap parsley
100g Parmesan, finely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Set the Sous Vide water bath to 62C. When it reaches the temperature, pop in the eggs, inside their shells. Cook for at least 1 hour and no more than 2 hours. This will result in an incredibly rich egg with a bright yellow yolk with the texture of double cream. This will become the ‘sauce’ for your final dish.
2. Bring a large of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions (around 8-9 minutes for al dente).
3. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a dry non-stick frying pan (you won’t need any oil) until the bacon renders its fat and starts to crisp.
4. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel.
5. Add the garlic and chilli to the pan and cook in the bacon fat for 2-3 mins until soft. Ad the rosemary power and stir.
6. Return the bacon to the pan and add the wine. Simmer for a few minutes until the wine reduces, then add the cream. Simmer again for a couple of minutes. If it gets too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water from the pasta.
7. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the bacon, wine and cream mixture. Stir to cover all the spaghetti and transfer to bowls.
8. Carefully remove the eggs from the Sous Vide water bath and using a sharp knife, tap each egg in the middle then use your fingers to break the shell apart and plop the cooked egg onto the spaghetti.
9. Break into the egg with a fork to release the yolk, then toss through the spaghetti.
10. Sprinkle over the Parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper, to taste.