Bucatini alla carbonara

carbonara

The name’s origin is debateable, but folklore associates it with charcoal workers (carbonari). To recreate the mood, Trota tasked Salmon and Fidget with some flue maintenance. Quite an ask, so you might think the duo’s reward would be forthcoming. But no – Trota, mistress of delayed gratification, insists that only after a thorough shower are our heroes re-admitted to the cartoon kitchen to finally tuck in.

Bucatini alla carbonara

carbonara

There are many versions of this dish and the Rowes are keeping clear of the ‘what’s original’ debate. This time they followed the instructions of someone who is clearly in the know: in her book Recipes & Memoires, no less than Sophia Loren (under-45s refer to Wikipedia for details), the acclaimed Oscar-winning actress, who famously claimed she owed her curves to pasta (rather like Trota), shares her favourite recipes.

So, for this earthy treat you will need 1 tbsp olive oil, 100g diced pancetta (guanciale or pig cheek would be super if you can find it), a pinch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped, 2 egg yolks, 2 tbsp cream, 2 tbsp grated pecorino cheese and 150g bucatini pasta. Yes, we hear you: spaghetti or bucatini? Well, we say bucatini. But thick n.7 spaghetti would be fine.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the pancetta and parsley, sauté to brown the pancetta well. Separately, in a large bowl mix the two yolks, cream and grated pecorino. Yes, the second uproar: cream or no cream – the choice is yours.

Meanwhile, cook the bucatini until just al dente, drain and reserve a couple of tbsp of the cooking water. Combine the bucatini with the pancetta and, working quickly, toss it in the bowl with the beaten egg yolk mixture, add the reserved 2 tbsp cooking water and mix quickly to coat the bucatini with the sauce. The heat of the pasta cooks the egg. Serve immediately – some favour a sprinkle of black pepper (to simulate coal, apparently, but Salmon has his doubts).

Many versions of this tasty dish, but the cartoon kitchen has chosen Sophia Loren’s…and why not?