For the past year, I have been working with the British Egg Council (an organisation that represents 85% of the UK’s egg producers) as one of their brand ambassadors. As part of this collaboration, I developed delicious egg-based recipes such as Huevos rancheros and Turkish menemen. One of my favourite recipes with eggs is Spaghetti alla Carbonara, a classic dish from my hometown of Rome. For a twist to the original recipe, I added courgettes to it.
In my hometown of Rome, Spaghetti alla Carbonara is considered the queen of pasta dishes. All it takes to make the perfect Carbonara is a bowl of spaghetti al dente tossed with guanciale (Italian cured meat product prepared from pork cheeks), mature pecorino cheese, eggs and good quality black pepper.
It’s a simple dish with humble origins: some say it was the coal workers’ lunch of choice, hence the name “carbonara”.
A common mistake when making Spaghetti alla Carbonara is to add cream. The creamy sauce is made entirely from fresh raw eggs tossed with cooked pasta and a lot of grated Pecorino cheese.
I like to add courgettes for a twist to the original. Courgettes are available all year round, though here in the UK they are at their best in summer. For a vegetarian option, remove the pancetta and replace the Parmesan with a vegetarian extra mature cheese.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Courgettes
- 160g spaghetti
- 2 British Lion eggs
- 30g pancetta (or 3 bacon rashers)
- 40g Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 large courgette, washed and sliced in rounds
- 1/2 white onion, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp rock salt
- salt and pepper
Fill 3/4 of a tall saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons of rock salt to the boiling water. Add the spaghetti and let them cook in water for around 10-11 minutes (timings vary, check instructions on the packet).
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the courgettes. In a frying pan, fry the onion in a few spoonsful of extra virgin olive oil. Cook the onion for 1-2 minutes, until it’s browned. Add the bacon, fry for one minute, then add the courgettes. Add a few spoonsful of the boiling water, stir well, then cover the pan with a lid. Cook for about five minutes, stirring every few minutes so the vegetables are cooked evenly. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with salt and pepper and half the grated cheese.
Drain the pasta “al dente” and add it to the frying pan with the courgettes. Cook on medium heat for one minute, then turn off the heat. Pour over the egg mix, stirring quickly: you want the eggs to become creamy, not cooked.
Divide the pasta into two plates, top up with the remaining parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of pepper. Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: this recipe was written in collaboration with British Egg Council. All opinions are my own.