Meal for one: Carbonara

If you happened to get a great piece of Parmesan, what is the dish to cook that first came across your mind?

I thought of carbonara immediately. Not a pizza, because I would need mozzarella as well. Not a vegetable gratin baked with a layer of cheese, because I would prefer the original sweetness of the fresh vegetables after a long bake in the oven. Not a lasagna, because it is just … too much work.

I just need to take an egg from my fridge, some bacon from my freezer and pasta from my cabinet to make carbonara. From the internet, you can easily find different methods to make a carbonara, but generally there are two types of methods:  with cream and without cream. As far as I understand, they differ from each other in the number of eggs used. You’ll need more eggs and extra yolks in those recipe without using any cream. I found myself prefer the recipe with cream which is relatively less thick to my taste.

When it comes to carbonara, I have to mention my elder brother, B because he “inspired” me to make my first carbonara back then . He is one guy who enjoys cooking too, like my dad. So three of us often buy cooking utensils or cooking related stuffs for each other especially when we are travelling. B gave me a fine grater from his business trip two years back (it is much cheaper in US!). Then he brought me a huge chunk of nice Parmesan from Italy last year. I couldn’t thought of any better idea to make some carbonara when I had that heavy cheese in my hand, remembering that yellow grater in my drawer.

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L was surprised to see my desktop keyboard and notebook in my food photos, which was rather different from the previous shoot.

“Why you took the photo in the study room?”
“Because that’s where I eat my lunch nowadays … and I just realised the natural light there is so nice for photo shoot! ”

So for “Meal for one” series, there will be no nice dining set up on the table or my white kitchentop, most of them time there will be one plate or bowl, easy maybe a little bit sloppy, but that’s how a personal quick lunch I wanted. More importantly, I can read while I am eating.

(Just like those days of my undergrad life in the hostel.)

Carbonara

Serves 1
Cook time 15 minutes
Website Inspired by The Chiappas

Ingredients

  • 30g Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
  • 50ml cooking cream
  • 1 egg
  • 80g spaghetti
  • 60g pancetta or any bacon
  • salt and pepper

Optional

  • A handful parsley (finely chopped)

Directions

Step 1
Cook the pasta in boiling salty water according to the instructions. Meanwhile, start with a cold frying pan, heat the pancetta or bacon over medium heat until they are brown evenly or reach your desired crispness.
Step 2
While waiting for the bacon to be done, whisk the egg, cooking cream and grated cheese in a bowl to mix well. Season the mixture with some pepper.
Step 3
Add the cooked pasta to the frying pan and toss well to ensure the pasta are coated with the bacon oil.

Turn off the heat and take the pan off from the hot stove, gradually pour in the cheese/egg/cream mixture to the pan , at the same time mix well using a tong. If you find the sauce is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoon of the salty water that used to cook pasta earlier and mix again.
Step 4
Add extra grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley (if you have any) on top right before serving.

Note

Make sure to turn off the heat before adding the cream/egg/cheese mixture to prevent a scramble egg-like texture in your carbonara.

 

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