Quick and Tasty: Courgette Carbonara

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This is a very regular feature on our dinner landscape, it’s tasty, it’s eaten by the whole family (including babygirl now too) and it’s on the table in under 15 minutes.

If the kids are hovering I employ them in grating the courgette and mixing the parmesan and egg together.

You might read the recipe and think- “where’s the cream?” let me assure you that I haven’t left it out, the egg and cheese together make a lovely creamy sauce, one that chefs refer to as an emulsion (yes, when I hear that word I think paint too). I never, ever use cream in my carbonara, and I think if you try this you’ll agree it’s completely unnecessary. Plus, the Italians don’t use it in theirs:)

I’ve given the recipe for 200g pasta but you could up it to 300g if you use large eggs and still have plenty of sauce for your pasta. Far be it from me to judge how much pasta that you want to eat- our 200g fed a hungry Mammy, the 2 boys and enough for baby too. It doesn’t really reheat well but is very easily made fresh and is an ideal “meal for one”.

Even my very fussy eater will eat this without trying to pick out the green bits, and today I gave some to Laoise with the pancetta removed and the spaghetti chopped up small and she absolutely loved it, smacking her lips together and demanding more.

If you’ve a fear of the eggs scramble be very careful to let the steam all out, or if you like move everything to an unheated bowl to mix them together.

Once you have the egg and cheese basic sauce mastered you can try different variations with whatever you like- mushrooms, maybe peppers, stir some fresh herbs in at the end, through some garlic on with the pancetta, leave out the pancetta to leave it vegetarian. We like it like this though:

Courgette Carbonara
200g spaghetti (you can use whatever pasta you prefer, and this amount of sauce would probably absorb up to 300g fine)
100g pancetta cubes
50g parmesan cheese, grated
2 eggs (yolks only, so you could use the whites to make this)
One small or one half of a large courgette
Black pepper

Put the pasta on to boil per the packet instructions.

Fry the pancetta in a non stick frying pan for about 2-3 minutes, grate the courgette and add it to the pan, fry slowly over a low heat.

Separate the eggs and place the yolks only in a mug, then add the grated parmesan and beat them together with a fork, the mixture will be stiff and grainy looking.

When the pasta is cooked strain it in a colander, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Stir to let the steam out, then add the pasta to the pancetta and courgette. Add a little of the reserved water if its very dry. Next, take the pan off the heat and add the egg and cheese mix to it, mixing well until the pasta is all covered in a glossy sauce, add more reserved cooking liquid to loosen it up if you need to. Mix well and serve with some black pepper.
I usually have a green salad on the table too with this.

Enjoy!

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