Thursday, 9 April 2009

Spaghetti Carbonara

This is 'real' carbonara not the insipid bland pap served up by most restaurants. Even my Italian mate said it was 'OK' and 'close' to how his mum makes it - high praise indeed!

(It tastes nicer than it looks, I was already eating it before I remembered to photo it!)

This dehydrates / rehydrates well but doesn't freeze successfully. Any left over can be kept in the fridge and reheated in a microwave.


Tomato sauce:

  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 red chillies finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 pack grilled streaky bacon - the more grilled the better, it softens up in the sauce and well-grilled gives a deeper 'smoky' flavour.
  • Oregano / mixed herbs
  • Red wine (optional)

  • 3-4 servings of good quality spaghetti

Egg Mixture:

  • 3-4 eggs depending on size
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Tomato sauce

Brown the onions in a little olive oil
Add the garlic and chillies - gently fry
Add the tomatoes, a glass of wine and the herbs.

You want to make this sauce highly flavoured, it provides most of the falvour for the dish and a little is distributed across a substantial quantity of spaghetti.

Simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a thick rich consistency (about the consistency you'd use for pizza tomato sauce).
Finally add the chopped grilled bacon and let the sauce cook for another 5 minutes. If it gets too thick just add some water from the cooking pasta.


While the sauce is cooking bring a large pan of salted water with a dash of olive oil added to the boil.

Add the spaghetti, stir gently to separate the strands and cook until 'al-dente' - about 9-11 minutes depending on the variety, cooking times are given on the packet. Don't cook the spaghetti too much as you're going to cook it for 2-3 minutes once it's drained, with practice you can drain it just undercooked for a perfect end-result)

If you're intending to dehydrate you may find it better to break the spaghetti strands in half before you add it to the water

Personally I detest 'easy-cook' spaghetti, I just don't see how it's any 'easier', a good Italian brand is as easy as it gets and tastes so much better.

Drain the spaghetti saving a little of the water for later use.

While the spaghetti is cooking prepare the egg mixture:

Egg Mixture

Beat the eggs and add grated Parmesan until the resulting mixture is thick, ensure the mixture is well mixed

Return the cooked spaghetti to the pan you cooked it in and add the tomato / bacon sauce (use a bit of the spaghetti to ensure you get all the sauce out of the pan)

Stir gently to ensure the sauce is well-distributed, if the sauce isn't mixing you can add a splash of the pasta water.

Add the egg/cheese mixture to the pan and stir gently over a low heat

The eggs will cook and the cheese will melt due to the ambient heat in the pasta.

How long you cook it for is down to preference. It's great 'sloppy' with the eggs very lightly cooked but it's also great cooked until the eggs/cheese are 'granulated' - the latter is better for dehydrating.

To dehydrate weigh a portion 'wet' and dry completely, breaking up any lumps to ensure it's all completely dried. Make a note of the lost weight; each gramme of lost weight equates to a ml of boiling water needed to rehydrate. Write the required amount of water on the zip-lock bag.

Rehydrate for 20 minutes in a cosy and scoff! It's great for breakfast, better for an evening meal washed down with some red wine at 'tent temperature'

1 comment:

  1. Update;

    Try as I might I can't get this to rehydate properly - I think the heat of the rehydration cooks the eggs again and causes the sauce to separate. the ned-result is edible so I'll leave the recipe up but it's not as good as when cooked 'from fresh'