Not-So-Traditional Fusilli Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara is a family fave from my childhood.  I have joyous memories of wolfing down a big, rich, delicious bowl of creamy pasta with little salty nuggets of crispy bacon after shattering Tuesday night swimming training sessions.  It felt entirely deserved! 

Over the years I have tweaked the classic recipe countless times.  Sometimes for the better, a spoon of fresh pesto, some chunks of chorizo and sometimes, well, not so much.  Let’s just say, olive tapenade didn’t quite combine well with the creamy Parmesan as I had hoped.

This recipe is where I now comfortably rest!  I hope you will enjoy my not-so-traditional carbonara as much as we do.  Your thoughts below in the comments PLEASE!

Fusilli Carbonara
Serves 4

6 rashers of streaky smoked bacon or pancetta
2 handfuls of button mushrooms, cut into thick slices
Olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup of dry wine wine (optional)
450g dried fusilli
2 large free range eggs
1 cup of single cream
Salt and pepper
1 cup of grated Parmesan
Spring onions to garnish

In a large frying pan, dry fry the bacon rashers until golden and crispy.  Remove from heat onto kitchen paper to absorb the excess fat.  Cut roughly into pieces.  Drain the pan of most of the rendered fat and add the mushrooms to brown. Add the mushrooms to the kitchen paper also to drain.

Then in a separate pan sauté the red onion and garlic in a little olive oil.  When translucent, add the chopped mushrooms to the pan and either turn off the heat and set aside or if you chose to add the vino, which I recommend, reduce the heat and add it to the onions now to simmer until the pasta is cooked.

In a large pan of boiling salted water, add the pasta and cook as per the packet instructions.  When cooked, strain and reserve a cup of the cooking water.  Tip the pasta back into the pan.

Combine the eggs, parmesan and the cream in a bowl with a fork and season with salt and pepper.  Working quickly, pour over the pasta and stir in with a wooden spoon  The eggs, cream and parmesan will cook in the residual heat of the pasta in less than a minute to create a creamy delicious sauce that will coat the pasta perfectly.  Quickly add the bacon, mushrooms and winey-garlicky onions.  Use some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the consistency if needed.

Serve immediately, and top with a few slices of spring onion and a nice green salad on the side to cut through that richness.


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