Pardon for the lack of table setting when photographing the dish - we couldn't wait to dig in!
This month is a very special month... Because Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids is hosting her 3rd Cook Like A Star, and the chosen chef is one of my favourite chefs - Jamie Oliver!
I got to "know" Jamie Oliver a very, very long time ago (when I was about 14/15?) through one of his cooking shows, and I just love the way he hosts his cooking show. He rarely measures his ingredients (except when he's baking), a lot of time showing off his knife skills (wish I could do the same!) and he's always grabbing whatever is near him and adding it to his pot of magic. His spontaneity and energetic style of cooking makes him one of my favourite chefs - ever since I would never miss a single episode of his cooking show, and would always be armed with a piece of pen and paper to copy down recipes that I would like to try. I have always wanted to buy his cookbooks but they are too costly for a student like me back then. So I would go to the library and lug his thick and heavy cookbooks back and absorb all the beautiful food photos and delicious recipes - and then wishing I have the skills and equipment to make them.
Regrettably I have only managed to post one recipe of his (back in 2009! I will update on it soon!) on this site... Many recipes that I've tried in the past are not satisfactory enough to be blogged here while some ended up as flops (due to my poor cooking skills). These recipes were somehow forgotten and not re-attempted - until now!
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes by Jamie Oliver, and the first would be this carbonara. (Yum, yum, yum!)
Most carbonara served here in Singapore are very cream based - the pasta are swimming in lots of cream and milk and it's just.so.gross. Maybe because I'm not a fan of cream and milk (different story for cream desserts and milk products), I really detested this version of carbonara. The true authentic carbonara should be made of egg yolks - and I had my first taste of real carbonara in Rome. The carbonara in Italy are extremely tasty and creamy because of the egg yolks - which is the main reason why I never got sick of their carbonara.
When I returned back to Singapore, I searched for good egg-yolk-based carbonara recipes and tried them out, but many times I ended up scrambling the eggs... Until I learned the trick that to cook a perfect carbonara is to turn off the heat before pouring in the yolk mixture - and it worked!
Now that I've learned the trick, I know I'm going to make carbonara on a regular basis - I'll just keep the egg whites left from the recipe to practice baking macarons.
Jamie's carbonara with bacon and asparagus is well-loved by X and I and it was a great comfort food that can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes (and we all love fuss-free, easy and fast but scrumptious meals... Right?). The smokey and salty bacon combines with the crunchiness of the asparagus and the creaminess of the pasta... it's so good that we polished the whole dish off within minutes! It may not be authentic Italian as there's still some cream added (not sure how strict a true Italian carbonara should be), but this recipe is definitely a keeper!
First boil a pot of water and heat a large frying pan (big enough to accommodate all the pasta and ingredients) over medium heat.
While waiting for the water to boil, chop up some good quality bacon.
Then combine some cream, egg yolks, and Parmesan cheese.
Add in a knob of butter - the hot pasta will melt the butter later.
Chop up some asparagus - I actually wanted to throw in the stalks first then the heads, but ended up throwing them all at one go.
When the pasta is cooking, start frying the bacon - crispy is what we are looking for.
When the bacon has started to crisp, add in the asparagus and cook until asparagus are tender but still slightly crunchy. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Yes it's oily. Yes it's fattening. But I promise you I'm not going to make this dish very often.
Okay, maybe not, but at least I'm making all the fats worthwhile!
Drain the cooked pasta and add it immediately into the bacon mixture and toss.
Turn off the heat and drizzle in the egg yolks mixture, tossing continuously.
Add in some pasta water if the mixture's too thick for your liking.
Plate and dig in immediately!
Are you hungry yet?
View all other Jamie Oliver's fantastic recipes tried out by other foodies here!
Jamie Oliver's Bacon and Asparagus Carbonara
- 2 fresh egg yolks, at room temperature
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
- 180 grams pasta
- 200 grams streaky bacon / pancetta, chopped
- 100 grams thin, baby asparagus, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish (optional)
- First, boil a large pot of water. Season the water with salt - ½ tablespoon of salt per 1 litre of water. While waiting for the water to boil, grab a large frying pan (large enough to accommodate all the pasta, bacon and asparagus) and set it over medium heat.
- Combine the egg yolks, cream and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Whisk to combine with a fork and stir in the butter - the heat from the pasta will melt the butter later.
- When the water has come to a boil, add in the penne and cook until al dente, per package's instructions.
- Immediately after adding the pasta, add the chopped bacon into the frying pan - no oil is needed as the bacon will render lots of fats during cooking. Fry over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until browned and almost crispy.
- When the bacon is starting to crisp, add in the asparagus (if you're using thick asparagus, add them in slightly earlier as they'll take a longer time to cook). Stir-fry until the asparagus are tender. Season with freshly ground black pepper - do not add salt as the bacon and Parmesan cheese are very salty to begin with.
- Once the pasta is al dente - remember, the pasta will continue to cook for a while after removing them from the heat - reserve ½ cup of cooking water and drain the pasta. Dump them immediately (do not rinse them with cold water!) into the bacon-asparagus mixture and toss to coat the pasta with the the bacon fats (very, very sinful I know!)
- The most important step now: turn off the heat. Drizzle in the egg yolk mixture and toss / stir the pasta continuously until the pasta is coated with lots of creamy yumminess. If it's too thick, add in the pasta water - tablespoon by tablespoon, until it reaches the consistency you desired. Don't return the pan to the heat as it would cook the eggs.
- Serve immediately (cold carbonara are yucky).
- Timing is very essential when making this dish - your pasta should be freshly cooked out of the water and added into the pan immediately after draining, so the pasta heat will heat the egg yolks mixture into a creamy concoction.
- Use the best quality and freshest egg you can find for this dish - quality matters!
Please, don't call it carbonara!!
Lovely carbonara! It looks so good! I'll eat this carbonara anywhere! Just hand over the plate to me 🙂
its very yummy dummy i love it .
Celine Ooi (@lifeloveandme) says
Carbonara is my go-to comfort food. And this looks super-delicious! Can't wait to try it out soon. 😉
Re-bake: Jamie Oliver’s Easy Chocolate Cake and an Award « Food Is My Life says
[...] Bacon and Asparagus Carbonara [...]
Thank you Aimee!
This looks beautiful! I love the look of the baby asparagus to add some greenery.
my boy will jump with delight if i cook him this delicious pasta dish!
That's amazing.... looks better than my best carbonara 🙁
I totally have a craving for pasta right now and this carbonara is just up my alley! Delicious!!
Wow. That looks fantastic. Carbonara is so yummy!
Savory Simple says
I just love carbonara. Asparagus is such a natural, perfect addition!
We love carbonara especially during the winter months & this is such a good idea with the addition of asparagus! Certainly trying this delicious recipe; Thanks for sharing. Have a lovely day! 🙂
Just A Smidgen says
Thank you! Glad you like it 🙂
Thank you! Wow I'm sure it's not easy, to come up with a lot of egg-free meals. I hope your kid outgrows it soon too, so he can not only enjoy this carbonara, but also plenty of desserts!
Thank you so much! It seems that there's a lot of people who like Jamie's recipes and his style of cooking. Do give this a try, hope you'll like it as much as I do 🙂
Yes it is Sibella! 🙂
I'm sure your kids will, Joyce! I'm already wishing I have a plate of this in front of me right now... I gotta go grab some Milo to drink!
Precisely, Jo! I have no idea why so many restaurants here still kept serving those cream and milk loaded carbonara, this version is so much more addictive! Glad that you like it 🙂
Awww thanks Villy! Wish I could give you a tissue or handkerchief to wipe the saliva off! 😉
Thank you Raymund! Unfortunately I've gobbled them all up and licked the plate clean... but I'll definitely cook a new batch for you 😉
Oh Jeannie do whip up some for yourself soon, they're irresistible! 😉
Oooh I know which show you're referring to Smidge! I really love the garden too, I remember one episode where he showcased all his odd-shaped and sizes but delicious looking tomatoes! It's a pity I won't be able to have it too 🙁 I hope you'll like this dish when you try it! 🙂
Thanks for choosing him for the event, Zoe! I'm now watching his "30 minutes meal" TV show and I hope to whip up more dishes these few weeks!
I hope you will like it as much as I do! Thank you!
Thank you so much John! I used to call Jamie "my favourite guy" haha! Mmmm would love to have a taste of your version of carbonara!
Thank you Mich! It's really quick to whip it up for lunch, do try! 🙂
Thank you for reading! I'm sure you'll love the dish 🙂
Thank you Bobbi! Do stay tuned! Will try to blog them fast 🙂
Thank you Uru! Hope you'll like the recipe as much as I do! 🙂
Oh my I'll definitely give you a huge plate of carbonara, please don't hurt me!! :p Glad you like it!
Wonderful! I love a good plate of carbonara without the goopy milk and cream sauce as well!
Everyday Commotion says
Looks great! Oh, how I wish my youngest will outgrow his egg allergy. Not only for his safety and joy, but so we can reintroduce recipes with eggs!
My absolute favorite chef, I love Jamie's recipes. Carbonara is also one of my favorite pasta dishes and I love this fresh and contemporary spin on a classic. Your photo graphs are stunning, wish I had a big bowl right now.
Simple, yet sooo good!!!!!!!!
kitchen flavours says
Oh my goodness, I had dinner almost four hours ago, and yes I am extremely hungry, after looking at your delicious plate of carbonara!! I wasn't feeling hungry before that!! Looks utterly delicious! A definite must try, my kids would love me more if I make this for them! Hehe!
OK, now got to make myself a drink to satisfy my hunger pangs! 🙂
I know what you mean about the cream based carbonara in Singapore that are often unsatisfactory. I only like them in desserts like you! Your carbonara is something that I would eat.
I have no words Jasline... Which is fine because my mouth is watering...
Wow that's a really nice plate of carbonara, can I have a serving of those 🙂
I still watch his shows on Astro! This is is definitely a favorite of mine, I love non-creamy pasta too! and yes, I wish I am having some of that lovely pasta of yours!
Just A Smidgen says
I love his show as well.. especially that one where he cooks in his little back garden in that really organic looking kitchen. It's the life I always dreamed of living (but never will, lol).. just pottering away in a garden and inventing magical dishes. He's really something, I can sure see why you admired him.. and look how far you've come!! The pasta is just gleaming and looks so tasty with the bacon. When someone says "this recipe's a keeper" I definitely pay attention.. I'm bookmarking this one:)
I do feel hungry looking at your delicious carbonara. Can't have enough of Jamie Oliver? Me too! This month will be great for you and me to cook lots of Jamie Oliver's recipe. I saw him on Australian Masterchef TV a couple weeks back and he is so charismatic 😀
I have been making lots of pasta dishes these past months but haven't make this. Looks delish!
There aren't many TV chefs that I follow but Jaime is definitely one of them. Every recipe of his that I've tried has resulted in a great dish or dessert and without the need for exotic spices or special equipment. This carbonara recipe is a case in point. Although I've my own, very similar, version, there is nothing complicated about it and I bet it's delicious! And his tip about adding the egg yolk to the cream is a good one. Until I stumbled upon that one, I served up a few dishes of pasta with scrambled eggs. Hardly what I was expecting. 🙂
Mich - Piece of Cake says
This looks so delicious, wish I could have it for lunch!
Love the combination, it is one of my must try dish. Thank you for the post!!
Bam's Kitchen says
I also love Jamie's recipes as really yummy and he keeps it simple with great ingredients. Looking forward to more dishes from this chef from your kitchen
Choc Chip Uru says
A big big fan of Jamie Oliver right here so this dish is bookmarked for my family 😀
Who needs a place setting? Just hand over the plate of food and no one will get hurt. (Backs away slowly while forking in the pasta!) 🙂