This easy twist on the everyday Italian classic of Spaghetti alla Carbonara is served with a generous sprinkling of Grana Padano and a scattering of Prosciutto di San Daniele
Spaghetti alla carbonara has to be one of the simplest, but most delicious Italian dishes. It is so easy to make that it is the perfect comfort food dish, ideal for devouring after a busy week, or day at work, a night out, or for an informal dinner party. Italian food really is better with quality ingredients simply cooked.
Spaghetti alla carbonara is a traditional dish from Rome, made with fried bacon or pancetta, with a creamy sauce made with eggs, a hard grana style cheese, and some of the silky pasta water with lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Simple and delicious with no need for cream or other cheeses such as mozzarella (undeniably both are delicious but if you use them it simply isn’t a proper carbonara).
I’ve given the traditional spaghetti alla carbonara a slight twist to feature and showcase Grana Padano and Prosciutto di San Daniele.
Both Grana Padano and Prosciutto di San Daniele are quality, artisan ingredients, which deserve to be served simply so their superior flavours shine through. Both products are proud carriers of the Protected Designation of Origin status, which strictly defines their production area and follow traditional methods of production. I visited Italy last year, and met the artisans who make these products with care, pride and passion, so I am only going to serve them in a way which showcases them.
When buying pasta, the more expensive brands are worth the extra money, regardless of which brand you buy pasta is a relatively frugal ingredient and the improvement in quality, taste and texture with a good brand is remarkable. The use of the silky pasta water makes a deliciously creamy sauce without the need for cream, once you start using pasta water in your pasta sauces you will rapidly gain the habit of doing it all the time. I try and remember to ladle some out whilst the pasta is cooking. It is all too easy to forget and pour the entire lot down the sink when draining the pasta, but it is a mistake you will only make a few times!
- 150 g spaghetti
- 25 g butter
- 1 clove garlic (peeled)
- 50 g Grana Padano (finely grated)
- 1 large egg
- 2 slices Prosciutto di San Daniele (cut into narrow ribbons)
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta as per the packet instructions.
Lightly crush the garlic clove with the side of a knife and gently fry in the butter
Crack the egg into a bowl and lightly whisk, stir in half the grated Grana Padano
Once cooked drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid. Return to the saucepan.
Discard the garlic from the butter, pour the, now flavoured butter, and egg and cheese mix over the pasta and mix well. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water, and stir to make a a thick creamy sauce that coats the pasta.
Season well with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve immediately sprinkled with the Prosciutto di San Daniele and the rest of the cheese.
Recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara commissioned by Grana Padano & Prosciutto di San Daniele. All opinions our own.
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