Pasta alla Carbonara

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Many of you will know that there are only supposed to be three ingredients in a carbonara sauce: eggs, parmesan and pancetta (without counting pepper, of course).

No, there is no cream or butter, although most restaurants outside of Italy will add a little (or a big) splash (no doubt just to adapt to the general public’s expectations and pallet).

Even though it’s not true to the traditional recipe, I like a bit of cream, so I do occasionally add a touch (even though I really shouldn’t what with lactose intolerance and all). You can do this recipe with or without, it all works just fine so it’s up to you.

The added twist here is the maple syrup in the pancetta… You may think “Beh! Is she raving mad?!” – well, all I can say is trust me on this one – it’s just so good.

You will need:

For 4 people

400g penne

4 eggs

1/2 cup grated parmesan

a touch of cream (optional)

Freshly grated black pepper

5 nice thick rachers of pancetta, diced

1.5 – 2 tbsp maple syrup


Start by putting the water on for the penne – you don’t want everything to be ready and then have to wait for the pasta.

Once the water’s boiling (don’t forget to add plenty of salt in it), put the pasta in and start frying the pancetta in another pan (you don’t need any oil, there’s enough fat in there). When the lardons start to get nice and golden, add the maple syrup and coat them well to glaze. Taste and add more if you’re liking it and feel it needs another touch.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the parmesan and freshly grated black pepper. This is where you’d add a little cream if you want to go down the cheeky route.

Now for this part, you have to work quick: when the pasta’s ready, drain it and immediately return it to the still hot pot on the turned-off, still hot stove. Add the bacon and the egg mixture to the pasta and quickly stir. This will slowly cook the egg in the residual heat, making it nice and creamy. Keep stirring for about 1 minute and then serve.

Top with some more pepper and parmesan and enjoy!