Spaghetti Carbonara

I’m approaching the revision period for my final exams. In doing so, I am discovering an intense ability to procrastinate. Turns out there are just questions in life that bother me more than  what was the cultural significance of Renaissance inventories. Like what the heck is going on with Brexit and Trump, sure, but also whether I’ll ever learn how to do perfect winged eye liner. Which shady character is the actual villain in series three of Broadchurch. The real life mystery of what exactly was going on with Hiddleswift last summer. How to make the perfect carbonara.

I love carbonara, but for years I have been making not-very-good ones and going along with it because it involved bacon, carbs and cheese and so could never be that bad. But then in New York last summer I had the ultimate fancy restaurant carbonara; one of those ones with an egg yolk on top to pierce and let flow down throughout the spaghetti. It showed me just how perfect a good carbonara could be and I knew I’d never be going to back to mildly scrambled versions. I would never claim this is a traditional version – I love the luxuriousness of the added cream too much – but it’s my favourite version and that is all I need. Maybe if I served it to Tom Hiddleston he’d explain everything?

Spaghetti Carbonara

Serves 1

  • 100g spaghetti
  • 3 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • splash of double cream
  • parmesan, to grate

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and snip into 2cm pieces.

Mix the egg yolks with the double cream in a mug. When the spaghetti is done, remove 2tbsp of the cooking water and mix in with the egg and cream.

Drain the spaghetti and return to the warm saucepan. Add the egg and bacon and stir to coat the pasta evenly and create a sauce. Pour into a bowl and top with plenty of grated parmesan.

Gnocchi with peas, pesto and bacon

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When I start a new food habit, I tend to get quite addicted. Case in point last term when I ate a toasted bagel with cream cheese and ham for lunch every day for the entire term. That’s over 50 bagels…and why I don’t think I’ll be having another one for a long time now. To replace that habit, my latest food addiction is gnocchi…how very Cambridge of me!

DSC_0134I’ve made gnocchi from scratch twice before: once at home where it went strangely grey and stretchy, and once during cookery school where I learnt to make it properly and it was delicious. With my extremely limited kitchen here at uni, I don’t think I’ll be having a go at scratch again anytime soon but shop bought it makes the perfect speedy meal. It takes just two minutes to cook like ravioli or tortellini, but you have so many more options of making it your own (and feeling like I’m actually doing some cooking).

My current favourite is this dish, with peas, bacon and plenty of pesto. Frozen peas are my failsafe way to make sure I get vegetables – I’m like a parent tricking a toddler into getting their five a day. The combination altogether is so good – sweet peas, salty crispy bacon, herby pesto and the soft gnocchi carbs just soaking up all those flavours. I have had this for lunch or dinner more times than I care to admit over the last few weeks…enjoy!

Gnocchi with peas, pesto and bacon

These quantities serve one (student living!) but are obviously super easy to double up as needed.

  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 250g of gnocchi (normally 1/2 a bag)
  • 80g of frozen peas (that’s how many you need to count as one of your five a day!)
  • 3tbsps pesto

Fry the bacon until crispy then cut into small strips. Meanwhile, microwave or boil the frozen peas for 3 minutes until cooked. Boil the gnocchi for 2-3 minutes until it floats to the top of the pan. Drain, then return to the pan with the other ingredients. Stir together briefly over the heat to warm the pesto through, then serve and enjoy!