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Penne Alla Carbonara

This velvety, creamy pasta will be a hit with your family

Posted: 15 September 2011
by Junior

When it comes to food, sometimes simpler is better, and The River Café Cookbook by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers (Random House, £17.50) embraces that philosophy. Featuring uncomplicated recipes, it’s a book that I return to time and again as it offers a delightful take on Italian farmhouse cooking. This Penne Alla Carbonara recipe is one of our favourites.

Penne Alla Carbonara

Serves 6

For us, the two most important ingredients are excellent free-range eggs and good quality pancetta.


200g (7oz) pancetta, cut into matchsticks
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 egg yolks
120 ml (4fl oz) double cream
150g (51/2oz) Parmesan, freshly grated
250g (9oz) penne rigate


Fry the pancetta in the olive oil slowly in a large pan, so that it releases its own fat before becoming crisp. Add some black pepper. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the cream, season with salt and pepper and add half the Parmesan. 

Meanwhile, cook the penne according to the packet instructions in salted, boiling water, then drain thoroughly. Combine the pasta immediately with the hot pancetta and the oil, and then pour in the cream mixture. Stir to coat each pasta piece – the heat from the pasta will cook the egg slightly. Finally, sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve. 

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