Tagliatelle carbonara baked into a crispy, golden cake studded with green peas, cut into wedges like pizza. Carbonara al forno – maybe not the most orthodox pasta dish but irresistibly tasty.
The cheesier the better
As everyone knows, the only thing better than pasta is pasta bake, or pasta al forno. Oven pasta dishes are deadly delicious, both those features because of the added cheese, baked to melt.
Mozzarella, Cheddar in a bastardised versions that we cook without pretending to be Italian, provolone which is simply divine or asiago which I can never buy in the UK.
Parmesan or Pecorino too, obviously, but we sprinkle that on top of the main body – extra cheese showered on top of a cheesy dish.
Cheese means calories
All that cheese makes the food heavenly but also (as it often goes together) hefty in calories. If you want to watch the intake a bit, this recipe might be the solution. I’ve been inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s spaghetti pie and I thought I could cut down on the eggs and cheese, making it rewarding but skinnier.
Bacon goes in, but not so much; just a little Pecorino and egg yolks only (though I know I’m being delusional in the last point thinking skipping egg white will make much difference).
Long strand pasta bake
Having never before tried to bake long pasta strands, I found it works absolutely fine. You can faff about trying to shape little nests in the baking dish but even if you dump the pasta into the dish in a dishevelled pile, it will be fine and you can always call the look ‘rustic’.
Tagliatelle, spaghetti, linguine, bucatini – whichever shapes you fancy. After all, all those shapes are chopped up lasagne sheets, if you think about it.
Extras in carbonara bake
Peas are not a classic in a carbonara, I admit freely. But a little greenery is always welcome in the company of creamy, baconey lunch or dinner.
You can replace peas with small broccoli florets or sliced green beans, sugar snaps or baby broad beans. Pecorino is my cheese of choice because it’s softer but go ahead and use Parmesan if that’s what you prefer or have in your pantry.