I never used to like carbonara due to its stodgy and thick consistency which made me feel sick after eating it. But after learning how to cook it from a friend (it’s really easy!), I realised I could just adjust the consistency of the sauce to my liking!
The two most important things to note for this recipe are:
- Use a low-medium heat throughout to prevent anything from burning and turning bitter.
- Take the pan off the heat after adding the egg to prevent the egg from overcooking and turning the sauce lumpy. There is nothing worse than a lumpy carbonara sauce!
The most difficult thing for me was to resist the temptation to turn up the heat to speed things up because I’m a really impatient person. But every time I use a high heat I end up burning the garlic, which is not a good taste. So please just be patient because the results are worth it!
Another thing is that you will need to exercise judgement as to how much salt to add. The chorizo I got did not contain much salt so I had to add in a fair amount myself. If you substitute smoked bacon or pancetta for the chorizo, which tend to be much saltier, you may need only an extra pinch of salt or two. Just remember to keep tasting as you go along!
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- 150g sliced mushrooms
- 110g chorizo cut into bite-sized chunks
- 3-4 cloves of minced garlic
- 2 eggs
- 150ml double cream
- Handful of grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
Update: My original recipe had a smidgen of flour in it to help thicken up the sauce, but I was told it’s blasphemous to put flour in a carbonara. The “authentic” version consists of only yolks, cheese and pepper. I’ve since replaced the flour with parmesan and reduced the salt to accommodate the salt from the cheese.
- Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water that has been generously salted. The salt helps to flavour the pasta a little so that it will not dilute the taste of the sauce too much later. Set a timer on your phone so that you don’t overcook it.
- Meanwhile, stir fry the chorizo on a low heat in a dry pan. There is no need to add any oil into the pan as the chorizo has lots of it. Just be careful to use a low-medium heat to not burn the chorizo and keep stir frying till the fats in the chorizo melt and turn to oil. This will take a couple minutes. I find that I usually need to add some oil if I’m using cubed pancetta from Sainsbury’s to get the frying process going and preventing the pancetta from sticking to my pan.
- Add in the garlic. Stir fry on a medium heat till the garlic starts browning. Note that if your pan was previously too hot while frying the chorizo, your garlic will start burning very quickly.
- Add the mushrooms, some salt and stir fry till tender. The salt will help sweat out the mushrooms, but do not add go overboard with the salt at this point as we will still have the salt from the cheese.
- Reserve some of the pasta water, then drain pasta. Your pasta should be about done by this point.
- Turn the heat to low and tip the cooked pasta into the pan.
- Now add the double cream, cheese and eggs and immediately take the pan off the heat. Mix well and season again if necessary. Taking the pan off the heat prevents the eggs from scrambling and turning the sauce lumpy. The salt will bring out the flavour of the chorizo and the sauce and is vital in making an awesome carbonara. You do need to over-salt it a little to compensate for the blandness of the pasta.
- Sprinkle in some of the pasta water if the sauce gets a bit dry. The pasta should be moist.
- Serve and enjoy!