Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Leek and Bacon Carbonara

My wife has just started a new job which means she is spending quite a bit of time in the evenings doing preparation for the next day at work, this is great for me as it means I get to do all the cooking!

I have been using the same Carbonara recipe for quite a while now, it is a slight modification of The River Cafe's recipe. Their recipe is very simple but delicious. It really is nothing more that Cheese, Egg Yolks, Bacon/Panchetta, a little white wine and Salt and Pepper. I love it and I highly recommend it to anyone.

I have been trying to add some more variety of ingredients to my cooking over the past few months and that is what lead me to make the changes I have to this recipe. I recently created a Leek and Pear Cider sauce that goes exceptionally well with seafood and I really felt that some of the flavours would go very well with the carbonara sauce so I decided to make a few changes and see what I came up with. Here is the resulting recipe.

Leek and Bacon Carbonara


1 Leek
1/2 Onion
1/2 Red Onion
4 Rashers of Smoked Bacon
1/2 Cup or 125 ml of Dry White Wine
4 Egg Yolks
30g Parmesan
30g Cheddar or Pecorino Cheese
180g Spaghetti
1/2 Cup or 125ml of Double Cream
Knob of butter
1Tbsp of Olive Oil
1 Bay Leaf
Salt and Pepper for Seasoning
Chopped parsley to serve

  1. Slice the Leeks and Onions into rings
  2. Finely grate the cheeses
  3. Chop the bacon rashers into 2cm squares
  4. Beat the egg yolks and mix in the cheeses to make a thick paste. Season with Salt and Pepper
  5. Heat a thick bottomed pan and add a knob of butter and the olive oil
  6. Fry the bacon in the pan until it starts to brown slightly
  7. Add the Leeks and Onions to the bacon and saute for a couple of minutes until everything is thoroughly coated in the fat
  8. Cover and allow to sweat for 6 mins
  9. Add the wine to the pan and stir through then raise the heat to allow the wine to reduce down by half
  10. Then reduce the heat and stir in the cream simmer gently for a further couple of minutes
  11. Remove the sauce from the heat and cover
  12. Cook the Spaghetti as directed
  13. When the pasta is cooked drain and set aside a small amount of the cooking water for later
  14. Once the pasta is drained stir through the egg and cheese paste until all the pasta is coated with the mixture and the cheese has totally melted
  15. Finally add in the leek and bacon sauce
  16. If the sauce is too thick add a some of the reserved water to loosen it up
  17. Serve quickly sprinkled with chopped parsley
One of the most important things about this recipe (and in my opinion most dishes involving pasta) is that the sauce can wait for the pasta but the pasta must never wait for the sauce!
The meal went down very well with my wife and I look forward to trying it out on a few more people in the future. The wine I used for cooking was a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and unsurprisingly it went very well as an accompaniment to the meal as well.

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