Eating as a family isn’t something we get to do a lot, thanks to the time I get in from work being too close to the girls’ bedtime. We do all eat together at weekends, though, and those are some of my favourite meals of the week. Well, the ones where we don’t have to keep nagging the girls to eat up, anyway.
What’s a little strange is the foods the girls will devour and the ones they need more encouragement with. We both love a good, traditional roast dinner, but the girls? Not so much. Pasta, on the other hand, will often disappear before the bowls have all been set down on the table. At least that’s how it sometimes feels. Gem and I reckon there must be some Mediterranean blood in one of us somewhere – what other explanation can there be?
Our family favourites include chicken parmigiana (breaded chicken on a bed of spaghetti, in a tomato sauce) and carbonara. The latter is one that’s a speciality of mine and, dare I say it, is one of the few things I can make as well as, if not better than Gem!
There are a lot of carbonara recipes out there, many of which over-complicate things, but the one we use is simple (which is why I can do it), economical and healthier than most, because it doesn’t include any cream. I’m sure I’ve read that traditional Italian recipes don’t include cream either, so I should add “classic” to that list!
Here’s our carbonara recipe:
Classic Carbonara – serves 2
200g dried pasta – spaghetti, linguine or penne
2 medium eggs
60g grated parmesan cheese
4 rashers bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic
1-2tsp mixed Italian herbs
Boil the pasta in salted water according to packet instructions.
Heat a frying pan and add your bacon. Cook until almost crisp then remove from the heat but leave in the pan. Crush in the garlic and stir in herbs. Leave to one side.
Beat your eggs in a cup and mix 2/3 of of the egg into 2/3 of the cheese. (Reserve the rest for sprinkling).
When the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pan, off the heat. Stir in the garlicky, herby bacon and finally add the eggy cheese mixture and stir well, adding the last drop if egg if you think it’s too dry. The egg will cook with the heat from the pasta so don’t put it on the heat as you don’t want scrambled eggs!
One thing I love about this recipe is that all the quantities are even numbers, meaning it’s easy to scale up or down to suit the number of people we’re feeding. For example, we usually work on 3 adult portions t feed the four of us, splitting one between the girls, although to be honest I think they would devour however much we put down in front of them