75ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g smoked streaky bacon, sliced into 1cm thick lardons (or ready-sliced smoked lardons)
1 fresh green chilli, chopped, seeds and white pith removed (optional)
400g top-quality dried pasta strands (spaghetti is ideal)
3 free-range egg yolks, lightly beaten
50g parmesan, plus extra to serve
Small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
1. Pour the oil into a frying pan, add the onions and garlic and cook on a fairly low heat for about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil (for every 1 litre add 10g salt). Try to regulate the temperature of the frying pan so that up to this point the onions have not started to colour. Add the bacon and chilli and turn up the heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the bacon becomes nicely browned and the edges of the onions begin to darken slightly.
3. When the water is boiling, plunge in the pasta and cook on a gentle boil until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, put the egg yolks in a bowl large enough to hold the pasta, and grate the parmesan onto the yolks.
4. Drain the pasta into a colander and shake to drain off most of the liquid. Before all the cooking water has drained off, tip the pasta quickly on to the egg yolk and cheese mixture. You should have 1-2 tbsp of cooking water still left on the pasta, which will help to form the sauce.
5. Immediately mix in the pasta into the egg and cheese to bind. Tip the contents of the frying pan on to the pasta, then mix everything together quickly and thoroughly. Season, then serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and extra parmesan.
- This is a serve-straightaway recipe. As soon as you mix the eggs into the pasta, the dish needs serving, otherwise the sauce will be absorbed and the dish will be dry. Prepare the onion and bacon mix beforehand and heat through in a frying pan when ready to toss through the pasta. Try it next time with peas mixed in. Add 100g frozen peas to the frying pan with the onions and bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes. Put the peas into the pan while frozen, as the ice will allow them to heat up gently without frying. You can vary the cheese: add some grated pecorino romano or pieces of mozzarella or ricotta.
- An Italian white works well here – a good quality, lightly chilled pinot grigio will be bellissimo.