I had extraordinarily good spaghetti alla carbonara last winter wedged at the bar of an impossibly busy restaurant in a Rome backstreet. Cooked the traditional way with cured pork cheeks (guanciale) and an excess of golden egg yolks thickened with Pecorino Romano, it needed plenty of red wine to wash it down. My easy-to-eat version, made with frilly gigli pasta and very thinly sliced smoked streaky bacon, is garlicky with a grassy parsley finish. Yum.
Prep: 15 min
200g gigli, radiatori or other short, stumpy pasta
1 garlic clove
few sprigs flat leaf parsley
100g smoked streaky bacon
½ (half) tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp finely grated Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano
Boil the kettle. Three quarters fill a medium-large pan with boiling water. Add 1 dsp salt and the pasta. Boil, giving the occasional stir, for 5-7 minutes until al dente. Drain, returning to the pan with 2-3 tbsp cooking water. Meanwhile, smack the garlic, flake away the papery skin and finely chop. Finely chop the parsley leaves. Slice the bacon in ribbons and fry in the olive oil in a frying pan, stirring as the fat runs and the bacon crisps. Scoop onto a fold of kitchen paper. Add the garlic to the pan, quickly stirring until aromatic but stopping before it burns. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl and season with 2 tbsp cheese, a pinch salt and few grinds of black pepper. Tip the eggs into the hot drained pasta, add the bacon and oily garlic. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon, stirring until creamy but stopping before it turns into scrambled egg. Add parsley, toss again and serve with more cheese and a fork.