Courgette and Bacon Carbonara

Creamy and cheesy with crispy bacon bits, I love carbonara. This dish is inspired by my recent visit to Pasta Loco (I went with the team from work to celebrate Dieter’s birthday). Pasta Loco is a italian restaurant on Cotham Hill in Clifton. You’d think an italian would be bad news if you’re a coeliac like me but the guys there were really helpful. They had gluten free pasta on hand and came over to explain the menu to me, letting me know what I could and couldn’t have.

For dinner I had the mussels for starter, then the carbonara, topped with pork belly and a pancetta wrapped poached egg (which was YUM!) for main. I had a really fun night, the food and wine were delicious, I hope to go again really soon.

Before that I hadn’t had carbonara for ages, I’d forgotten how good it was and how quick it was to make. I’ve adapted my carbonara recipe from this one. I decided to make mine a little bit healthier by adding some shredded courgette (Don’t worry it’s not too healthy, it’s still packed with butter and delicious cheese).

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Courgette and Bacon Carbonara

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
80g pancetta, finely chopped
50g Parmesan, finely grated

Parmesan shavings
2 medium free range eggs
150g gluten free spaghetti (I used glutafin)

1 courgette, shredded or spiralized. (I shredded mine with a julienne vegetable peeler)
1 garlic clove, peeled
20g unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Boil water in a large saucepan and add a generous pinch of salt.  When the water is at a rolling boil add the spaghetti and cook until al dente (just cooked).

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, season with a little freshly grated black pepper and set aside. Crush the garlic slightly with the blade of a knife, leaving it whole.

While the spaghetti is cooking, in a large frying pan, fry the pancetta and garlic in the butter. Cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the pancetta is golden and crisp. At this point remove the garlic and discard.

Add the courgette to the frying pan and cook for 1 minute until it’s just going soft.

Turn down the heat to low. Set aside a small cup of the cooked pasta water (you will need a little of this for later). Drain the pasta and put it in the frying pan with the pancetta and courgette.

Take the pan of spaghetti, courgette and pancetta off the heat and quickly pour in the eggs and cheese and mix thoroughly. The sauce should thicken and not scramble, and everything should be thoroughly coated. If the sauce is too thick add extra pasta cooking water (a couple of tablespoons should do it).

Season with a little salt, if needed. Use a long-pronged fork or tongs to twist the pasta on to the serving plate or bowl. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of Parmesan shavings.

If the dish does get a little dry before serving, splash in some more hot pasta water and give it a good stir, the glossy sauciness should be revived.

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