Yes, I know you’re not meant to put cream or anything creamlike in a carbonara. So, technically, this recipe isn’t really a carbonara. But it is quick, easy, filling, cheap, delicious and the leftovers keep well in the fridge. If I am going to be perfectly honest, food purists are usually crashing bores. While I will die on the pineapple-has-no-business-being-on-a-pizza hill, food purists are frequently the death of dinner parties, the drain of all joie de vivre from restaurants – and, crucially, they often lack imagination and patronise people who just want to eat something yummy.
This carbonara was born last week when I was using up a few things in the fridge before my husband and I went away for a few days. There were a couple of eggs, there was some bacon that was on the verge of seeing better days, there was pasta – and there was just enough Greek yoghurt for this carbonara and the next morning’s breakfast. After some Googling, I decided Greek yoghurt – or indeed any plain yoghurt – would be a legitimate ingredient in a carbonara.
As if that wasn’t enough for the food purist police to break down my door, I also put finely grated cheddar cheese in this carbonara. Arrest me now, you tedious drones!
It was super-fast, super-easy after a busy day writing about anything but food – and my husband said it tasted better than many a restaurant carbonara. And that, quite frankly, is praise enough.
2 tablespoons olive oil
250g dried pasta (I used fusilli)
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed (or use garlic granules)
150g bacon, diced (or use pre-packaged diced bacon or ham)
150g finely grated cheese (I scandalously used cheddar, but parmesan or any hard cheese is fine)
Five tablespoons of yoghurt (I used fat-free Greek yoghurt, but any plain yoghurt will do the job. Or cream or creme fraiche)
Salt to taste
A sprinkling of dried basil
Black pepper to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a pot and put the pasta on to cook.
- Once the oil is warm, thrown in the onion, garlic and bacon and cook until the bacon starts to brown. Turn the heat down.
- Mix the eggs, yoghurt and grated cheese and add to the onion, garlic and bacon and stir quickly. Leave the heat on medium-low.
- Check on the pasta – use a little of the pasta water to thin the sauce so it doesn’t become thick and gluey.
- Drain the pasta when it’s just about cooked and add to the pot with the carbonara sauce. Stir well and season with the salt and basil.
- Serve with a smattering of black pepper.