In all honesty, a couple weeks ago I was looking for something to watch on TV, and came across 'Chef at Home' and 'Chef Michael's Kitchen' on the Food Network - 1 whole hour of Chef Michael Smith! I've watched these shows before but had a hard time catching them on a regular basis. So now that they're on everyday at 11am, when I'm home - I always tune in. This was what originally made me want to cook more, he inspired me and made it look so easy! This recipe (and most likely others to come) will be Chef Michael Smith inspired, but I will be putting my own twist to it a bit ;)!
This recipe first caught my eye because it seemed so quick and easy, but also because my partner LOVES pasta. I have made some tweeks to the recipe, the biggest one being that I used chicken bacon rather than prosciutto and pancetta. We don't eat pork, not for any religious reason or anything, but because we just prefer other meats instead. The other little personal add on is that I add parsley to the mix- you'll read about that later too. Feel free to use the original ingredients or even mixing in some of your own!
Let's get started...
So first thing I like to prepare, since it takes the longest to cook, is the bacon. I start with 8 slices and cut them into small strips before adding them to a hot pan with some oil. It seems like a lot of bacon at the time, but these small pieces will crisp up and really are the star of the dish.
While my bacon is frying up, I salt my pasta water (I like to do this before I add the pasta, and I'm not stingy either!) and a table spoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil so my pasta wont stick. I add 1 box of penne once my water has boiled over. You can use different pastas if you like, I just find that penne really holds the sauce well for this dish. Linguine, fettuccine, any pasta that would be used with cream pastas can be used instead of the penne.
Now that my pasta is boiling and my bacon bits are frying, now is a good time to make the carbonara sauce. Honestly while you are making this dish, you will find that its a lot quicker to make than you might have expected. This order of steps helps keep it quick and time efficient, I find. So to make the sauce we start with 4 egg yolks. The allure and appeal of the carbonara sauce is the hearty, yet cheesy flavour of the sauce. The egg yolks are added raw with the sauce to the hot pasta, and the heat from the pasta cooks the egg yolks - making it safe for consumption.
In a separate bowl, I put in the four egg yolks and add equal parts marscarpone cheese and parmesan cheese flakes - 1 cup of each. You want to add the seasoning to the sauce rather than season the dish after adding the cheese, adding the seasoning post cheese and bacon will be harder to evenly distribute through the dish. For seasoning, I put in 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of dried parsley, salt and pepper. I mixed that all together and had it ready for when my pasta was done.
Once my pasta was done and drained, my bacon was nice and crispy, I grabbed my sauce and mixed it all three elements together in the same pot I cooked the pasta in. Garnish as preferred, parsley, grated cheese, etc. This served about 5, so it's a great and quick option for a family without much time consumed to make it.
I have to say that everyone who had some of this pasta, really loved it (huge relief... But I couldn't go wrong with Chef Michael Smith in my corner!). I'm not usually one for pasta, I find it heavy and carbs are not friends, but I really liked this pasta because of the flavours of the sauce. I will definitely be keeping this one in my routine, I can't believe how quickly it was done!
Do you love to cook? Have some quick and easy recipes you would like me to try? I would love to get some suggestions by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in the comments box below! Will you try this recipe? What would you do different? I would love to read all about it!
For more information on this recipe and Chef Michael Smith, please visit the links below:
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Until next time. Same cooking time. Same cooking channel.