Yesterday, The Lovely Wife was away and the kids and I went out early in the morning to get some shopping done. My son needed a new belt for school as well as a spare pair of shoes. The kids also had some activities that they had to go for at 1.30 in the afternoon and I was leaning toward eating out and then dropping them off at their activity. As were were driving into the shopping centre, I realised that we had been eating out a fair bit and we were all somewhat tired of it. I asked the kids if they felt like some pasta for lunch and I was met with a resounding yes!
My little princess excitedly asked what pasta I would make and I said, something simple and quick since there wasnt much time. I told her we'd buy some bacon and I'd make a Carbonara. She then asked me if a Carbonara was the creamy pasta and I was about to say yes when I remembered that an authentic Carbonara doesnt use cream....
A long time ago, I posted my version of a Spaghetti Carbonara although I did mention that my version didnt use egg yolks or any egg for that matter. I followed up that post with another post based on a comment from a reader where I explained that what I thought was a Carbonara, really wasn't.
I've always been to scared to try and make an 'authentic' Carbonara for fear that the yolks would curdle. I've also realised that what one thinks is authentic can become adulterated over the years and that some famous world chefs now use cream in their carbonara - but together with egg yolks of course. This became very apparent while watching an episode of MasterChef Australia Masterclass where Gary Mehigan made his Pasta Carbonara. My little princess and I both watched that episode where Gary explained that although an 'authentic' Carbonara doesnt use cream, there was nothing wrong in adding a little cream in. The cream kind of stabilised the egg yolks and made the carbonara a little richer.
I adapted the recipe from Gary Mehigan's, replacing the guanciale with bacon and reducing the egg yolks. You all know how much I love my mushrooms and especially with bacon so I added in some mushrooms as well. This is what I did.
100g bacon - chopped
200g mushrooms - sliced
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
50g Cheddar or parmesan, finely grated
¼ cup (60ml) thickened cream
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, season with salt. Add spaghetti and cook until just under al dente, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook bacon until slightly crisp. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until lightly golden before adding the mushrooms and cooking till tender.
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, cheese, cream, salt and freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl to combine.
Remove pasta directly from saucepan and add to pan with bacon. Add a ladle of pasta water and continue to cook for a further minute. Transfer pasta to bowl with egg mixture, tossing well to combine. Divide pasta among bowls and serve immediately.
To say that the Pasta Carbonara was yummy would be a little bit of an understatement. It was simply brilliant! I wanted to eat more but the pasta was really filling and really rich. The kids loved it too and I was really thrilled with how well the Carbonara sauce turned out. The only grouse I have with this recipe is the leftover egg white. I'm still not quite sure what to do with the egg whites.
We also kept a little of the Pasta Carbonara in the fridge for The Lovely Wife to try later. I was a little worried about reheating the Carbonara as I figured the egg emulsion might solidify. However, an easy way to reheat is to heat just a little water in a pan. Once it is hot, quickly add in the pasta and keep stirring till the pasta and sauce is reheated and warmed through!
So I've finally made a 'real' Carbonara with egg yolks. Maybe the next step is to go really authentic and skip the cream. Maybe....