Carbonara can be an easy meal for the whole family. I do not cook often. In fact, I have never prepared a proper meal for my family. In December 2017, I had the opportunity to cook a proper meal at the request of my children (GerGer and BoiBoy). It is Carbonara, at the request for BoiBoy and GerGer.
DeeDee and I have been staying with my Parents-In-Law after we tied the knot. It has been 11 years since. They are such good cooks, I have been lazy and simply enjoying the delicious home cooked meals all these years. It is not that I dislike cooking. In fact, I find it an honour to cook a good meal for my loved ones, but the key is, it is only appreciated it if is delicious and suits their taste right? Even at home, we need to see from our “customers” (loved ones in this scenario) point of view. Throughout the years, my cooking attempts included simple dishes, like stir fried diced potato with sausage and eggs, creamy mushroom soup, and pouched eggs. All of them were not up to mark. The only “food” that was successful I guess was no-equipment, 5 ingredients home made ice cream. Well, our family loved it, though our neighbour didn’t.
We set a day to carry out our inaugural Carbonara mission and GerGer and BoiBoy were extremely excited. They refused to let me help them when they shopped for the items we needed from my shopping list.
What a great real-life lesson on groceries shopping they are having! This is not what they do in school where they are mainly to learning from ink, paper, and screens. Watching them want to find the items on their own, refusing any help from me, brought joy and comfort beyond words. I could hear my own breathing slow down and enjoying the moment.
Some days before our mission, I researched and found a really simple version of Bacon Carbonara, by One Pot Chef (https://youtu.be/tdQfIgU50yk). I loved the simplicity and I adapted it for myself. Here is the final product (on my second attempt). My first attempt wasn’t great and the children gave me 5/10. I improved so much on my second attempt that even DeeDee who doesn’t like western meals gave me 8/10! My heart swelled with joy at the sight of smiles on their faces when we were enjoying the Carbonara at the dining table.
Here’s the end product (it was the second attempt). My version had finely chopped fresh parsley in the recipe. See the little green dots? Oh, and I love how the cherry tomatoes lightens the heavy taste of cream. Lovely combo.
This is a really awesome meal for busy parents. It is fast, has few ingredients, easy and delicious!
Here, I share a few changes I made on my second attempt at the Carbonara which earned me thumbs up:
1) To cook the perfect pasta, we need to taste it. and as long as it is not crunchy on the inside, we should stop the fire and drain it immediately to avoid soggy pasta.
2) I poured in some of the water from cooking pasta, into the last stage where I put in the pasta and other ingredients into the pot. I think the water is needed to prevent the cream from drying up.
3) The stage where we put in the pasta and stir in all the ingredients has to be really quick and the LOW fire should be off after strictly around two minutes, or the cream will dry up. In order to do this, I pre-mixed the Cream and the egg yolks.
4) Instead of cooking the pasta in a pot (which ended up having half the fettuccine softer than the other half as the pot was not tall), I used a non-stick deep frying pan instead. So, after I fried the Bacon and removed the bacon, I added water and salt into the pan to boil it. The natural oil from the bacon was left untouched in the pan. I believe it helped in preventing the pasta from sticking together. I added the fettuccine in. This time, it was much easier to turn the pasta and have the parts there were not in the water to get dipped in really fast. I used this same pan for the last stage where we add in the pasta and all ingredients.
5) One Pot Chef added in the bacon at the last stage where we put in the cooked pasta and cream and egg yolks. I find that it makes the bacon soggy. I preferred the bacon to have that awesome chewiness without the sogginess. Therefore, I did not add in the bacon. I simply put some bacon on top of the pasta when I added the garnishing. We loved it this way better.
Try it today!