Here in Australia there is a strong Italian influence at work in many household kitchens. Likewise, restaurants serve a lot of Italian-style dishes. Along with Asian cuisine, Italian cookery is perhaps one of the strongest influences on modern Australian food. Pasta Carbonara is a common dish made both at home and consumed at restaurants. However, I would argue that what people have been consuming is not really Pasta Carbonara at all. All sorts of corruptions and abuses have taken place, that have turned this once simple dish into something which bears no real resemblance to the humble original.
Things like mushrooms, onions, wine, cream, and various herbs are now all considered to be part of Pasta Carbonara. The original dish actually contains only a few ingredients: bacon, eggs, and spaghetti. Cheese was also an ingredient, however it was added along with the eggs to melt and mingle, rather than mixed with milk or cream to form a cheese sauce. In today’s modern version, eggs are quite often omitted completely.
This is not to say that the modern version is not a good dish in itself, nor is it to say that food is a stagnant art form, but sometimes modern interpretations of classic dishes end up making things more complicated than they really have to be.
So here you will find a more authentic recipe for Pasta Carbonara, with minimal ingredients, short cooking time, and simple yet robust flavours that would rival any packet or restaurant version of this dish. In saying this, it is not completely authentic ingredients-wise, but definitely more authentic than most Australian renditions, particularly in its technique – in that the beaten eggs are cooked by the heat of the spaghetti.
The best way to describe the dish would be to say that Pasta Carbonara is the equivalent of Britains’ bacon and eggs, with pasta replacing the toast. So the trick is to keep it just as simple. Here is the recipe..
2 rashers of fatty bacon, finely sliced
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1/4 cup dried Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
additional Parmesan to garnish
- In a pan, fry the bacon over low to medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until slightly crisp. Avoid burning.
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water.
- Add the eggs, cheddar and Parmesan to a bowl and beat until eggs are broken up.
- Drain the pasta and return to the pot.
- Immediately pour the egg mixture and fried bacon pieces onto the pasta and mix well. The heat of the spaghetti should be enough to cook the eggs and create a light custard-like sauce.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle with parsley and lightly mix through.
- Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then serve with additional Parmesan.
Note: if you really want to add additional ingredients to the dish, such as garlic and/or mushrooms, this would still work. Just fry them along with the bacon at the beginning.