Thursday, 2 August 2012

Simple Penne Carbonara

Recognise these peas? Yup, they're the ones from our garden, and they're the ones that prompted a simple Carbonara for dinner. Not that it was a completely random decision- it just so happens to be one of Mr E's favourites. Bonus.

On that note, I feel it's about time I cleared something up. Someone asked Mr E recently if he ever gets 'normal' food, and I'm aware that it might seem like every night I go home and whip up something new for dinner. I promise, I don't. We have our regulars and our favourites just like everyone else (this being one of them), and I definitely have nights where I just can't be bothered cooking... that's what the freezer's for! My favourite recipes are ones that freeze well, so that I can make a double batch and freeze half for another night. Oh and believe it or not, I do make shop bought food too (I've tried making chicken Kievs, I suck at it)! So there we have it, all cleared up- I promise I am completely pretty much normal. Back to the main event...

This is the first time I've had to stop and think about this recipe, because I have made it soooo many times I tend to just do it by eye (not a good idea when you're hungry) and had no idea of the real measurements. So really in making it and writing this for you I was doing myself a favour in making sure I had a note of it. Double bonus.

Quick, simple, cheap and tasty. My kind of dinner.

Simple Penne Carbonara
Serves 4
300g Pasta (we like penne, but just use your favourite)
125g bacon, finely chopped
1/2 cup shelled peas
1 cup creme fraiche
2/3cup fresh grated Parmesan
1 tsp minced garlic
1 onion, finely diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tblspn olive oil
Salt and pepper, to season

1) Boil the pasta in well salted water according to the instructions, for the minimum length of time (if it says 10-12 minutes, aim for 10). We want the pasta to be ever so slightly al dente, and you will be returning it to the heat briefly later on. With one minute to go, add in the peas with the pasta.

2) While the pasta is cooking, in another large pan heat the oil and add the bacon. Cook on a medium heat until any fat has rendered and the bacon is starting to turn golden. Add in the onion and salt and pepper, and cook until the onion has softened.

3) By this point the pasta and peas should be ready. Drain and set aside, but reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water.

4) Add mushrooms to the pan with the bacon and onions, increase the heat to medium high and cook until the mushrooms have browned. Add in the garlic and stir for another minute.

5) Reduce the heat to the lowest you can and add in the pasta and peas. Stir until the veggies and bacon are fairly evenly mixed through. Add the creme fraiche and Parmesan and stir again. Heat the pasta for a minute, but don't let the creme fraiche start to simmer. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add a little of the reserved pasta water to thin it slightly.

Serve with garlic bread and a little more Parmesan to go on top (you can never have too much Parmesan, in my opinion).

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