Pasta alla Carbonara is based on a rich creamy sauce. The base is egg yolks and thick cream. The other important ingredients are pancetta, cheese and pepper. The key feature of carbonara is that it relies on the heat of the pasta to cook the egg yolks so it is very important to be alert and brisk to make sure the eggs do not curdle or scramble.
Carbonara is also good for children and those who do not like spicy food. It is such a simple, easy and quick Italian preparation. All the ingredients are easily available. If you are looking for a quick fix for lunch or dinner then you must try this fantastic classic Italian Chaicken & Mushroom Carbonara which tastes so deliciously creamy.
- 250 gms. Penne
- 2 cups Mushroom (washed & sliced)
- 1 Chicken Breast (boneless); cut into strips
- 6 slices of Pancetta or smoked streaky Bacon
- 8 cloves fresh Garlic (finely chopped)
- 50 ml. Double Cream or Light Cream
- 2 Egg Yolks
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese or Processed Cheddar
- A dash of Nutmeg pwd.
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Olive Oil as needed
- Fresh or dry Thyme – a small handful or any herb of your choice
To make your creamy Carbonara sauce, in a sufficiently large bowl, mix the egg yolks, cream and half of the Parmesan cheese with a fork. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside for later use.
Boil the penne (al dente) as per packet instructions and reserve some of the cooking water.
Heat a very large frying pan, add a good splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta or bacon and half the quantity of garlic until brown and crisp.
Add the chicken strips, sliced mushrooms, the remaining garlic and a sprinkling of pepper and thyme. Give a good stir and cook for 5 mins.
Now comes the most important part of getting it right or your carbonara could be a disaster! Be alert, very brisk and quick!!
Immediately, toss the drained pasta in the pan with chicken, bacon and aromatic flavors of garlic and thyme.
Take the pan off the heat and add a ladleful of reserved cooking water, nutmeg pwd. and your creamy sauce which was prepared earlier. Stir quickly to combine.
You need to be brisk so that the Carbonara sauce does not scramble/curdle. Do not cook again.
It is time for everyone to be ready to eat at the table!
While you are tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle Parmesan cheese or processed Cheddar like I did or your favorite cheese and add a little more of the cooking water if needed to give you a silky glossy sauce.
Taste to check seasoning.
Serve immediately in individual bowls.