Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spaghetti Carbonara

Many moons ago, while I was still an undergraduate, I took on a vacation job at one of the many banks near Boat Quay. A few of my schoolmates were working there for a lark, and urged me to join them. The pay was a pittance, but I had a crush on one of the guys, so puppy love conquered all, and soon enough, I found myself stamping, sorting and counting documents in the backroom.

Silly, I know.

During our stint at the bank, we - the lowly clerks who worked on the 2nd floor - would have lunch at an Italian eatery once a week, alongside the well-heeled, well-paid executives, who worked high up on the 20th floor. Oh, the audacity! ;)

Obviously, whatever money we earned, we ploughed it straight back into our stomachs, not our bank accounts. Tsk.

Anyway, at the end of 2 months, I lost interest in the guy and instead, fell hard for an Italian ... dish. His name was Spaghetti Carbonara. And he bowled me over with his irresistible, smooth ways.



That was my first encounter with an authentic Carbonara ... full-bodied, smoky and oh-so-velvety. Truly love at first bite.

Since then, guys have come and gone (LOL!), but I have never wavered in my love for Signore Carbonara.

*cue violins*

In fact, I still see him at least once a week, especially on days when my 10-year old daughter comes back late from afternoon classes, hungry as a wolf. Signore Carbonara always comes to my rescue.


Just the yolk? Or the whole egg? If I am cooking for 1 or 2, I would use the whole egg. But for 3 or 4, I would use the yolks only, and leave the whites for making something else. The rule of thumb is 1 yolk per person.

Whenever I make this dish, I do it without a recipe. I guess that is the result of cooking it so many times already. I am sure that is the case for many of you reading this. :)



The most crucial step in making the carbonara sauce is when to add in the eggs. The heat from the pasta - not the stove - cooks them. Pour them in when the heat is still aggressive, and they end up scrambled. But try cooking this a few times, and you will easily master it.

I watched a wonderful episode of Jamie Oliver recently, where he cooked a Beautiful Courgette Carbonara. If you have never cooked Carbonara, Jamie's recipe is a great one to follow. I cook mine the same way he does. Just omit the courgette if you want a classic version, or make it your own and add whatever you like. My dear friend, Monique, adds peas to hers. :)

Buon appetito!


I leave out black pepper for my children (like this one above). But on my own pasta, I am very liberal with pepper!

56 comments:

  1. I do like the simple carbonara especially when it is done right. So quick, simple and delicious

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  2. You have me craving Senor Carbonara at 6 AM..Hey..it's got bacon and eggs right?
    Ju this is one of our favorite dishes..Yours looks perfect.I like Jamie..I really do..

    It's funny how life works out.. you didn't marry that one and look..your life is magnificent..There was a reason!:)

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  3. Our midweek staple too, How cute is that puppy love story! :)

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  4. They are so creamy and inviting...congratulations..kiss...Luciana

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  5. Silly but lovely memory.....together with the yummy spaghetti....mmm...just innocent and sweet!

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  6. You fell hard for an Italian...... LOL!!! How tricky, hahahaha!!!

    I add wine to my carbonara, is it authentic?

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  7. Ooh,...what lovely memories,...ahhh,..

    Me & my husband also love a good spaghetti carbonara,...yours looks delicious & Jamie's too!

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  8. Carbonara is one of my favourite spaghetti dish. I first made this for 2 little Mexican girls living in China because they have gotten too tired of eating Chinese food...a different sort of memory from yours..:)

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  9. o how cute ^^...i can imagine you having the crush and then just falling out of it after 2 months..lol...indeed it was a crush.

    the spaghetti looks good and creamy..im glad you both are still together! that is what I call LOVE.

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  10. Officially your an honourary Italian! Nicely done!

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  11. I have never made this before, because hubby doesn't like pasta much. Maybe, I can cook this tomorrow, since he is flying to SG tomorrow. And I save the egg white for some other baking. Your dish look so creamy!

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  12. It looks beautiful - only you could make me want to eat bacon, my dear. ; )

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  13. Hi Ju,
    This looks just heavenly..love it with lots of bacon bits and pepper! Ahh...

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  14. ohmigoodness -- that looks soooo delicious. might have to break my diet this week :)

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  15. this looks amazingly tempting! the funny and crazy things we do for puppy love..at least it was a happy ending! :)

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  16. Ju, I'd love to try to make spaghetti carbonara someday because that's a fave of my family (except my dad because he isn't big on pasta.) Yours looks so creamy and smooth!

    Oh, I love your way of presenting the story, too! So engaging with lotsa sense of humor!

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  17. Oh yes, I'd choose this pasta over any guys! ha ha Your post made me laugh. This pasta looks amazing!!

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  18. Oh my! Ju, this is my fav!!! Very creamy... hehehehe

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  19. What a delicious and warming dinner this looks like. Great job!
    *kisses* HH

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  20. When you say about how you spent all of your pennies on fine dining as an undergrad you remind me of myself. That is exactly what I've been doing for the past three years! :) I'm still making the most of it because in a few months it will sadly all be over. Then I hope to be dining on OPM always ;) You're an inspiration, Ju!

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  21. Wow, your spaghetti with Carbonara sauce sure looks delicious...creamy...yummie! Great great pictures!

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  22. ha ha .... what a cute story. This is one of the easiest but tastiest pasta dish. This one of the very first dish I cooked for Carlos :)

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  23. I love spaghetti carbonara. I was fortunate enough to have my first dish of this pasta in Venice, Italy, and I will never ever ever forget it. It was amazing. I recreated it many times at home, but nothing beats the real thing. Your carbonara looks AMAZING!

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  24. Thanks for the yolk tips ;)

    Maybe I will try making Carbonara one day. I am in love with Mr. Marinara currently. Carbonara must wait. ;p

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  25. I've never had carbonara before =[ But it sounds so so so good! Will definitely try one day. And after I get my first job, I will definitely go to an Italian restaurant to try it! I have a feeling that I'm going to be like you, and spend all my pay on food! tehehe.....

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  26. Carbonara is one of my all-time favourite comfort food

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  27. That's hubby favourite spaghetti! :) The same could be said for him "He fell in love with an Italian...dish" :P

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  28. Hey Ju... love your puppy love tale, and love the way you wrote your post! Lorraine said it beautiully... "He fell in love with an Italian...dish". Like your rule of thumb, and if I were you, I would practice making macarons with the whites! LOL!!

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  29. i ADORE CARBONARA !
    I made pasta & meatballs last night....
    I could eat pasta 24/7, no doubt!

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  30. I love your pictures. I've never made this before, but it's my husband's favorite when we eat Italian.

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  31. LOL...No wonder why you fell in love with Carbonara..Got to try this sometimes.Thanks !

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  32. Love it...love it ...love it...
    Carbonara is sexy food!
    I also usually make it minus a recipe and usually with pancetta, egg, and cheese only...
    Nigella also has a nice recipe, adds a bit of cream...very rich but also excellent...
    Your pic is making me want to go and make some right now and eat it all by myself for lunch!
    Fabulous Ju!

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  33. I add sun-dried tomatoes to my carbonara. My girls love that extra kick to the creamy sauce.

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  34. Kids adore this. It's Miss C absolute favourite dinner meal. I like your rule: "one yolk per person". :p

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  35. I laughed so hard at your love story. :)) So in the end, it is the love for food that stays on, eh? ;)

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  36. I love this dish. And I know it's wrong, but I use garlic and zucchini instead of bacon. Don't be mad--I know it's not traditional but it still tastes good!

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  37. wow! you are definitely undressing my eyes with such a spledid pasts! :)

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  38. funny story :D i love spag carbonara! yours is just nice without overcooking the egg yolks :)

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  39. I agree that carbonara is a tricky one to make well; the best one I had was made for us by an English writer friend in Derbyshire of all places!

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  40. The best part about carbonara.. is that he makes you just as nervous as a crush (when you're trying not to overcook the eggs), excited (the first bite) and definitely, VERY HAPPY (by the end of it) and he'll never, ever call you fat. :)

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  41. Mmm... the spaghetti carbonara sounds so creamy and wonderfully delicious!

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  42. "crush on guy, work in backroom.." any more juicy gossips to share? tell me about it the next time we meet! :D

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  43. Looking at this makes me feel like I am in an Italian restaurant. Looks very delicious.

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  44. ah carbonara! i fell in love with it in primary school.
    couldnt stop buying the sauces in jars :S
    yours look really creamy and good!

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  45. Cremosi ed invitanti, perfetti, bravissima Ju.
    Ciao Daniela.

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  46. signore carbonara...YUM. who needs puppy love when u've got the robust sexy flavours of a carbonara?

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  47. so nice to see a carbonara that has just the right amount of cream sauce clinging onto the pasta. i had my only ever real carbonara in italy itself.

    not like those ersatz ones at pastamania that just swim in a pool of cream and appeal to people who think lots of cream means great value for money.

    :x

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  48. Ahhh, Signore Carbonara! I haven't had a date with him in a while, and your pics just leave me wanting! Jamie Oliver is not bad either ;-)

    Thnaks, Ju.

    Diane

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  49. This is one of my favorite pasta to eat. So filling and comforting and easy to prepare. Love the closed-up photo.

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  50. Oh yours looks so velvety and smooth... i wish i could master the art of cooking it like you!

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  51. Gorgeous! I've always loved carbonara but my hubs doesn't =(

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  52. It's one of the favourite pasta of my son, and I think he could fall in love for that dish and above all, he loves doing it by himself, when we are only 2 at home, he says, please mam, sit, would you like a carbonara ??? I'll do it ! And they are so good, those pasta have a special taste for me !

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  53. This is lovely. I like carbonaras a lot. This is a favorite.

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  54. Are you able to provide the recipe for this? For 1-2 person portion. Many thanks.

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