A little bit of delicious, that’s my non-carbonara: chunky pasta with crispy bacon and nutmeg flavoured creamy sauce. Pasta alla griglia – before serving, blast it into a golden crust under the grill.
How to make proper carbonara
Carbonara, traditional Italian miners’ dish is pasta tossed in a sauce created with raw eggs, a little cooking water and cured pork. Some posh variations use only egg yolk, add Parmesan or arrange an extra yolk in half-shell on top of a mound of pasta for the diner to toss it themselves, steak tartare-style.
Italian pasta sauces, even though they are on the whole very simple, ignite fierce arguments. Ragu Bolognese and the addition of white wine; onions or no onions in marinara sauce and, indeed, cream in carbonara. Traditional sauce is made as laid out above: by scrambling the egg into creamy dressing with the hot pasta and its cooking liquid.
Contentious cream in carbonara
But an awful lot of people are wary of raw eggs in their dinners so to achieve the saucy dressing for their spaghetti, they slosh in a bit of cream instead.
That tends to cause an outcry from purists: cream belongs with sauce Alfredo! Which is not even indigenously Italian! An authentic carbonara was meant to feed miners with egg as an essential calorie and nutrition boost!
This appetising pasta dish is NOT carbonara. It is not even ‘an easy carbonara’, which some recipemakers call their productions, as if it was otherwise a complicated dish. It has nothing to do with miners, it’s not orthodox and my only excuse is that it’s incredibly gorgeous nosh.
There’s nothing much to it: fry the bacon, pour in cream, cook down a bit and, just to make it extra irresistible, give it a blast under the grill. It is not exactly a pasta bake, just like it’s not exactly a carbonara. Just something a little bit tasty, as Orwell would put it.
Pasta alla griglia
The grill blast element is totally optional but you know what: you’re about to consume a plateful of heavy calories so why not make it super-good? The only thing better than a good plate of pasta is pasta al forno, so there - alla griglia to be precise, but that’s a small detail.
A non-carbonara, and it may well become your new favouritest thing if you try.