Monday, February 18, 2008

pretty is

I'm pretty sure that meals taste better when they've come from a gorgeous cookbook which is why I'm now scouring Tessa Kiros's Apples for Jam for dinner ideas. No cover makes me smile wider, and I've cooked "The best EVER chocolate cake" (according to my daughter) and a too-scrummy lamb and green bean casserole from its delightful pages. I need a plate-ful of pretty tonight. It's gotta have child-appeal (not a stew), tasty and able to be put together with minimal time and ingredients... oh, who am I kidding? It's got to be Nigella's spaghetti carbonara tonight! I didn't take notes while watching her program so I may have left out an ingredient or two, but it's the simplicity that's so wonderful. I do like to add garlic sometimes, if I'm feeling energetic. But there is no cream, absolutely not a spec, and yet it's so decadent you'd swear it were drowning in the stuff. I served this up in our villa in tuscany on our Italian trip in 06 and totally felt like a native - particularly when washing it down with a local glass of red!

My version of Nigella's spaghetti carbonara 
Cook spaghetti in boiling, salted water. Meanwhile, dice up small chunks of pancetta or thick, streaky bacon - around 300g. Saute in a little olive oil, till golden. Drain spaghetti, reserving a little of the cooking liquid. Remove pan from heat and stir in spaghetti, coating it nicely with bacon and oil. Beat two eggs and pour over spaghetti (make sure it's off the heat!). Stir like a maniac till it's nice and creamy - add a little cooking liquid from spaghetti if it needs thinning. Throw in a handful of freshly grated parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper and serve. So easy it's almost enough to make you blush... but oh, it tastes soooo good. Make it look pretty by serving it up with the Donna Hay swirl.

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