The Roman dish of spaghetti carbonara is one of the most adored pasta dishes in the world and rightly so. It has all the elements that make for perfect comfort food – a silky cheese laced sauce, salty pancetta and of course pasta. This version whilst not really traditional in that it incorporates crab meat, is still authentic in its execution i.e. it is made with pancetta, eggs and cheese – no cream please! The inclusion of crab meat makes this carbonara a little more special which is great if you’re entertaining and want to take things up a notch. Carbonara is normally served with spaghetti but in this instance I used linguine which I think works well with the crab. Whilst I love a traditional carbonara this crab meat version gives a nice little twist to a much loved classic without ruining its integrity.
Ingredients – Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced pancetta
2 shallots, very finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 whole eggs, lightly beaten, if you would like to make it slightly richer add an extra egg yolk
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ a large lemon, zest and juice
500g linguine or spaghetti
A generous knob of butter
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta and sauté just until beginning to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until the shallots are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Whisk together the eggs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper (be generous with the pepper) in a large bowl. Add the crab meat, the lemon zest and juice and stir to combine.
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pan. Immediately add the sautéed pancetta and the egg mixture. Add the butter, then toss the pasta quickly and thoroughly to make sure all of the strands are coated and that the ingredients are well combined. Serve immediately