Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Farfalle with Carbonara and Spring Peas

Yesterday was a public holiday here in Adelaide. Andy was playing computer games on my mobile so I couldn't get any conversation out of him at all. Eventually, after talking to myself for an hour, I started thinking about food and what I should cook for dinner. The decision was made to do a pasta, and Andy pulled himself away from his game long enough to say he wanted Carbonara. Carbonara is something I have never cooked before, although my sister in law Catherine has cooked it for me on a few occasions and it has always been perfect and delicious. But I have always been told to mix it up and serve it quick or it will be like scrambled eggs. I think for that reason, I have always avoided cooking it. I found a few basic recipes for Carbonara, but decided to go with a Jamie Oliver version which was a little different. It was really yummy and so simple. The flavours are so subtle and the peas really do burst in your mouth. I'm already looking forward to having the left overs this afternoon.
455g farfalle
1 egg
100ml double cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 rashes of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, rouchly sliced
3 handfuls of fresh podded or frozen peas
2 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves picked
2 handfulls of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the farfalle and cook according to the packet instructions. Whisk the egg in a bowl with the cream, salt and pepper. Put your panchetta or bacon into a second pan and cook until crispy and golden.

When the farfalle is nearly cooked, add the peas for the last minute and a half. This way they will burst in your mouth and be lovely and sweet. When cooked, drain in a colander, saving a little of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the pancetta and stri in most of the mint, finely sliced - if the pan isn't big enough, mix it all together in a warmed bowl.

Now you need to add the egg and cream mix to the pasta. What's important here is that you add it while the pasta is steaming hot. This way the residual heat from the pasta will cook the egg, but make sure they do not resemble scrambled eggs. The egg will actually cook enough to give you a silk smooth sauce. Toss together and loosen with a little of the reserved cooking water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parmesan and the rest of the mint leaves and serve as soon as possible.


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