Sausage And Peas Spaghetti Alla Carbonara
This is totally my idea of a perfect Friday meal. It’s quick and oh so satisfying. Add a bottle of wine and a light salad and you totally have date night covered.
It’s such a minimalist dish you wonder how so few ingredients can make a dish so good and satisfying. The key is to have good ingredients and fresh ones too. I think that is key with any dish but especially with one with so few ingredients.
A typical authentic carbonara as I have learned does not use cream or peas or onions or any other extra add ins. Typically it’s made with guanciale not pancetta or bacon. Guanciale is fatty pork meat from the pigs cheek or jowl. Do not tell an Italian that it’s one and the same to pancetta or bacon. And with good reason, the cut and curing is very different in both and even the flavour outcome. It’s not a common cured meat you will find in Trinidad, or even in the US or Canada I have heard, so my recipe allows for a little flexibility. I totally broke the rules on this one using sausage, but it was divine and I have no regrets and neither should you if you use it!
The typical cheese used in an authentic carbonara is usually pecorino. But I have seen so many other recipes call for parmiggiano so I’m sticking to ‘Parm’ cause I have easy access to it over here. Feel free to sub in pecorino though if you can easily get your hands on some.
It’s totally unacceptable to add cream, onions and peas but I like mine like that so if you want to keep it very authentic than feel free to omit those items. Why do I add them? Cream makes this dish even more luscious. Red onion gives the dish a little extra flavour and a subtle sweetness. Peas make it more substantial and add their own bit of sweetness.
You decide how you want to enjoy it. With or without those extras the meal will be fabulous. The most important thing to remember is to make sure the eggs, cream and cheese are all at room temperature before adding them to the pasta. If they are cold – the quick change in temperature from in the fridge to a hot pan can equal scrambled egg pasta instead of achieving that creamy luscious sauce in a beautiful carbonara. Once you have made it successfully, there is very little chance you will ever make it any other way after that.
- 1 lb of spaghetti (GF or regular)
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- ½-1 lb of good quality Italian sausage meat squeezed out of its casing (can sub out for Pancetta guanciale or good old bacon)
- 1 red onion chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 cup of frozen peas rinses and drained
- 4 large fresh organic eggs at room temp
- ¼ cup of heavy cooking cream
- 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley and more grated Parmesan cheese to garnish and a pinch of chili flakes as well for a little heat
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cream and cheese and set aside
In a large soup pot bring water to boil for your pasta. Make sure to heavily season with salt.
Once boiling add the pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes or as package requires for it to be al dente.
Once it’s done, scoop out and reserve ½ cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and sausage meat. Sauté for 5-10 minutes until fully cooked through and starting to brown (all the while using a wooden spoon to break up the meat into smaller pieces) then add the onions and continue to cook them until they are translucent.
Add the garlic and peas and continue to cook for a couple more minutes until the peas are warmed though.
Next add half the reserved pasta water and scrape and loosen all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Toss in the spaghetti and agitate the pan over the heat for a minute until the bubbling subsides and much of the water is evaporated.
REMOVE the pan from heat and add the whisked egg mixture, stirring it quickly through the pasta until the eggs cook and thicken. Must work fast for the eggs to gently cook from the residual heat from the pan. If you are not moving them around quickly or the pan is too hot they will turn into scrambled eggs. If the sauce is too thick just thin it out with more of the reserved pasta water
Season liberally with pepper and test before salting. Serve and sprinkle with chopped parsley and more Parmesan cheese.
* Make sure your cheese, eggs and cream are all at room temperature
Recipe adapted from the kitchn and inspired by my friend Karlee over at Olive and Artisan who also puts peas and cream in her carbonara