Definitely not Carbonara

Serves: 2

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

This dish delivers!

It’s a regular favourite in our house. With smokey, sweet crisp bacon, tender mushrooms and a rich creamy cheesy sauce there is nothing not to love. Call it carbonara in front of an Italian and you will likely be firmly corrected. It’s not a carbonara but it met one once.

You will need :

1 medium onion finely diced

150g Chestnut mushrooms halved then thinly sliced

12 slices smoked dry cure streaky bacon

2 large free range eggs

100g creme fraiche

50g mature cheddar cheese grated

40g Parmesan cheese grated

1 clove garlic thinly sliced

2 sprigs fresh thyme finely chopped

20 turns black pepper

1 pinch smoked maldern salt

220g spaghetti or linguine

Making it:

In a large heavy based frying pan cook the bacon over a medium heat until the fat is starting to crisp and turn golden but the flesh is still chewy. Once the bacon is cooked set it aside and add the onions to the pan of bacon fat. Stir occasionally.

Set a large pan of water over a high heat for the pasta.

When the onions start to soften add the mushrooms and fresh thyme. After a couple of minutes add the garlic and reduce the heat.

Salt the boiling water and cook pasta according to the packet instructions or until al dentè.

Chop the cooked bacon but if you’re feeling fancy leave some rashers whole for garnish later.

Return the chopped bacon to the onion/mushroom mix.

In a bowl combine the eggs, creme fraiche, cheese and black pepper.

When cooked, drain the pasta and return it to the hot pan. Add the egg/cheese mix and stir well until the cheese has melted and you have a glossy sauce around the pasta. Stir in the bacon/mushroom mix and plate up. Sprinkle with the smoked salt and garnish with the bacon crisps (if you saved them) and shavings of Parmesan (if you want it extra cheesy).

Variations:

Mix up the meats. Lardons or lardo will really elevate this. Chicken would work too so long as you get some crispy skin and rendered chicken fat in there. Look for schmaltz and gribenes if you you want to forgo the bacon.

You could always take a bit of time when plating and twirl your pasta into a lovely tidy ball. It will look great but it won’t taste any better.

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