Saturday, 23 February 2013

Carbonara in Due Modi (My two "FANTASTICHE" Spaghetti alla Carbonara Recipes!)

This is my big brother Mimmo... Not just a pretty face! He's quite the CHEF!

When we were little, I never saw him in the kitchen cooking, like I was, always helping our mother, confidently having fun, under her watchful eye! But... as soon as my mother was out of the way, Mimmo turned into a "masterchef!" He always made little pizzas which were totally hideous and inedible! It was so much fun, I ate them, pretending they were truly special. His zabaione, I would never taste, believing that he had made it with eggs and salt, rather than sugar.

As we grew up, he carried on being a secret chef, when our mamma was out of sight. Now, he really, really cooks like a chef!

One Summer afternoon, my brother even caught an "ingredient": a very naive pigeon (the city kind!) by making a trail of melon seeds. When the pigeon walked into the living room, Mimmo shut the window. You can imagine the panic! We were terrified of the bird and didn't know how to set it free! The screams could be heard all the way to Albania and Greece, across the Adriatic sea. We had never eaten pigeon and were not really intending to eat that one, but, you know... men are hunters, aren't they? So they say...

One very hot Summer day, a few years later, our parents went out for the day... The kitchen was ours! I made a salad using my favourite ingredients: frankfurters and boiled eggs, very "cleverly" arranged on a plate, the sausages  sliced and, into millions of little rounds, looking very" pretty!" That's what I though, anyway!

Mimmo, my brother, made an authentic Carbonara, using, as you do, very few ingredients. As he used butter, I didn't eat any of it, but I am sure it tasted really delicious!

Carbonara isn't really a sauce, as such. Certainly not something which can be preserved in a jar, and sold in a supermarket, as they do abroad.  Good knows what it must taste like! Please, never, ever buy "Italian" sauces in jars: they are hideous and full of artificial flavourings.

I love buying and cooking with fresh  ingredients! In Italy, vegetables are locally produced, GM is illegal and I can't tell you how exciting, walking round an Italian food  market can be! 

Today, I made two kinds of Carbonara: The first follows the traditional recipe, made by my brotheras you would eat in an Italian home (in Italy) or in a restaurant, in Italy. The second recipe I discovered in one of my Italian monthly food magazines. I used smoked salmon, instead of fresh, as I don't really like eating pasta with fresh salmon or fish (though I love it with shellfish, prawns and even cuttlefish!) I also added an extra ingredient, for colour and texture: asparagus. It was delicious!

Here are my recipes. Do try them!

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Serves 2:

300 g (11 oz) spaghetti

50g ( 2 oz) butter

1tbsp olive oil

100 g (3 1I2 oz) pancetta or Parma Ham, diced
3 eggs
2 generous handfuls grated Parmesan cheese


a generous sprinkling of black pepper

This is a very quick dish to prepare.

In a large pan, boil some water. When it comes to the boil, add your spaghetti and some salt and cook "al dente."

While your spaghetti is cooking, put the butter in a largish frying pan with the oil (the oil will prevent the butter from going brown too quickly) and let it melt. Add your pancetta or Parma Ham (Prosciutto Crudo) and cook until golden. Take off the heat.

In a bowl, beat the eggs tom a creamy texture, then add all your cheese with some pepper. Some chefs only use the yolks and whisk them over a bain marie. I made it as one would in an ordinary Italian home, "mamma style!"

When your pasta is ready, drain (, reserve some of the cooking liquid, in case your finished dish is too dry for you) then pour it into the pan, with the pancetta and butter. Turn the heat on, mix and add the egg and Parmesan mixtures. Mix all the ingredients together, until well blended. Serve with an extra sprinkling of cheese a lots of black pepper (I use black and pink!) As you can see, I garnished my dish with a 
few leaves of radicchio

Enjoy your authentic Spaghetti alla Carbonara: very good, genuine, simple everyday Italian food at its best!

Eat immediately! 

This is my second recipe. Not a traditional Carbonara, but good all the same, for the fish lovers!

Spaghetti alla Carbonara con Salmone Affumicato e Asparagi
(Spaghetti Carbonara with Smoked Salmon and Asparagus)

Serves 2


300 g ( 11 oz)spaghetti

50g (2 oz)  butter

1 tbsp olive oil

100g (3 1I2oz) smoked salmon (cut into strips)

3 eggs

2 handfuls Parmesan Cheese

5 tbsp single cream

10  asparagus spears, poached for a couple of minutes (keep four whole and dice the rest)

Cook your spaghetti, as explained in the previous recipe. Cook the asparagus in boiling water for a couple of minutes, just before serving.

In a large frying pan, place the butter and oil, followed by the  salmon. Cook for a minute or so, then remove from the heat.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl, add the cream, whisk together, then add Parmesan and Black pepper. Cut the cooked asparagus into smallish pieces and add to the egg mixture.

Drain your spaghetti, add to the salmon in the frying pan, mix, then add your cream,asparagus  egg and cheese mixture and blend together. Feel free to add more cheese, if you like and lots of lovely black pepper. Garnish each serving with a couple of asparagus spears. I love asparagus so much, I eat it Raw!

Try this unusual recipe: it's delicious, If, like me, you don't eat butter, you can use olive oil, instead!

Che buono!


  1. Dear Anna, I came to my blog smiling because of a post I'm about to write and then I saw yours and couldn't resist visiting you first! I love the stories of your brother and you cooking as children and the tale of the panicing pigeon made me really laugh.
    I love, love, love the look of your smoked salmon and asparagus carbonara. I can't wait to try it- two of my favourite ingredients.
    And I agree with you so strongly about pasta sauces. Why would anybody pay so much money for something you can make easily and tastes a millions times nicer?
    As always, your food photographs are gorgeous and you post has made me happy!
    Hope all's well with you
    lots of love Jane xxx

  2. That was quick, Jane! I'm glad you liked my recipes. I have to admit: the salmon version is really different and delicious! I changed it slightly to suit my taste, of course!

    I'm glad you liked my little story! My big brother is into "catching" things. He's the best diver I know and must have huge lungs, as he can hold his breath for an incredible length of time!

    I can't wait to read your post, now! I'm sure you'll make me smile, too!

    Try my recipe, Jane and tell me if you liked it!

    Can't believe Saturday has already gone!



  3. Dear Anne,what a wonderful post!!I love both recipes!! Nice ingredients!!So Italian style!!Your photographs are amazing!Dont the say for Italians and Greeks, una faca una razza!!!Glad you came back!!Wishing you a lovely weekend!Hugs!

    1. Good evening Dimi!

      Thank you for a lovely comment. I'm glad you like my photos. I think I would like to go on a photography course, as I would like to learn more.
      My stepdaughter is a professional photographer and takes amazing food photos. I like mine colourful... and yummy looking... that's all!

      I wish you a beautiful Sunday... I'll be very busy!



  4. I like the way you have re designed your blog.. very nice Anna.
    I am always interested in your recipies.
    I make carbonara .. mainly with prawns or sea food..
    I made pasta with tuna yesterday.. but will try out your recipe with the salmon.
    both good recipies.
    Your brother is very handsome Anna, Is the photo taken in Italy!
    wishing you a great weekend.

  5. Hi Val!

    The photo was taken here in Norfolk, outside the gorgeous seaside town called Blakeney, a few miles out of Cromer, on the North Norfolk Coast. This is a conservation area, with lots of rare and interestin birds to "watch"

    My brother is very, very handsome (he's now lost a bit of weight) and really looks like George Clooney. Everyone says so.

    I love him lots... he's quite special, Val!

    I will have to post my spaghetti with tuna, next, Val, so you can compare it with mine. I have a wonderful pasta, tuna and courgette recipe on my blog. Type in "tuna" in the search area and you'll see it!




  6. Oh !!! Another beautiful presentation of a simple meal! Lovely photos and you give very easy to understand the instructions of the recipe !I like the way you narrated the beautiful children's stories, full of love and wonderful feelings !The past week we ate every day , spaghetti or "pastitsio".My boys love them !Have a nice weekend my dear friend !

  7. Hi Olympia! I have things to do, but, instead, I am watching Italian TV with my laptop next to me!

    If you like spaghetti so much, you should try doing one of the two I posted. You are right: the recipes are simple, with only few ingredients. It's the secret of Italian food: best in the world, produced by cleverly combining just a few ingredients. As they say here, it demonstrates how "less is nore!
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend!


  8. Dear Anna - your first image is brightening up my sidebar with the wonderful colours of your Clivia plant, the ingredients and the finished dish - I love the zingy orange colour.
    I have made Spaghetti alla Carbonara before but will definitely give the salmon and asparagus dish a try especially when the new crop of English asparagus arrives in April.
    It is always lovely to hear about your family life, and this time we are introduced to your big brother - I noticed that you said he looked like George Clooney and I was just thinking exactly the same thing. Have you got any more brothers hidden away?
    As usual a beautifully presented and appetising post Anna.

  9. Hi Rosemary!

    I have photos of my sisters I will show one day. Unfortunately, my big sister, my mum's first born, left us months before my mum passed away, poor thing.

    The reason why I wanted to post this recipe was that outside Italy, when people make carbonara, they add ingredients which don't belong there: onions,mushrooms, ham and cream.

    Of course, cream is optional, in this dish, though I know that cream isn't used in cooking... not in ordinary households, though we love cream in our cakes, probably because lots of us in Bari have Norman origins.

    I am looking forward to the asparagus seson. I love it in frittata, wrapped in prosciutto and baked... I just love it!

    Sorry I'm a bit boring. I must have some kind of virus: my limbs realle ache. I will go to bed, hoping to sleep well.




  10. Dear Anna, We love Carbonara at our house. I realize that I left out one very important ingredient, the eggs. Your Fantastiche Carbonara recipe with prosciutto sounds delicious and will be served at our dinner table tonight. Thank You, Gina

    1. Hello Gina!
      You made carbonara without the eggs? That's so funny! It's like making tomato sauce without passata!
      Make sure to use eggs, tonight, as they make the dish really creamy!

      Another recipe. My mum used to cook riso Arborio, drain it, then add whisked eggs, mozzarella and Parmigiano (lots of it!)She would mix all these ingredients in a pan, over the hot ring, serve with more cheese... and... yum! It was delicious!Riso alle uova, we called it!

      Happy Sunday!


  11. Thank you for the wonderful story


    1. Hello Franka! Good to see you here!
      I'm glad you enjoyed my post!



  12. Mmmmmmmmmm....................merci beaucoup de la magnifique ress├ętte !!
    Jolies fotos!

    Bonne semaine!!
    xxx Maria xxx

    1. Thank you, Matia! I'm glad you liked my photos and recipes!

      Bonne semaine!



  13. Dear Anna,

    I enjoyed reading about your family! Do you know, your big brother looks a bit like George Clooney. He will probably love to hear this :-)

    The spaghetti Carbonara sounds delicious!!

    Happy new week!

    Madelief x

    1. Dear Madelief... yes, my brother does look a lot like George Clooney, especially in person, and he knows it! He's a bit vane, being an Italian man and is very elegant. He has style and very beautiful long legs (they are perfect! GRRRR!!!!)

      I like spaghetti carbonara, though I do mine with olive oil, rather than butter. I don't eat butter, or substitutes.

      Happy new week to you, too and thanks for commenting-



  14. Hello Anna, well you will be pleased to know that I have actually got out my notebook and written down your 2 carbonara recipes, and your meatball recipe. I am always very well intentioned and mean to come back and get the recipes and then hey presto I forget! So, I have no excuse, tomorrow is shopping day, so next week I shall be sampling your lovely recipes....hurrah! I will let you know what I think.
    Oh you are a very good looking family, and your brother sounds like a real character.
    Many thanks for your lovely comments. I am very impressed that you get red roses from your husband, red roses stand for true love, and pink for passion. I had a good laugh about your suggestions for giving messages to people you don't like, you are funny!
    Have a wonderful weekend my friend and a special Mother's Day, with much love, Linda xx

    1. My dear Linda... you probably won't see this, as it's too late, now! I missed a few lovely posts. So sorry!



  15. Belas receitas...Espectacular....

    1. Sorry... Ijust saw this.



  16. Yum, yum yum! Loved the Carbonara and the Meatballs, will try the salmon and asparagus one this week! Love Linda x