Carbonara is certainly a great joy in life; creamy, thickened with eggs, dusted with Parmesan and sprinkled with basil. Debates have raged throughout the years about the ideal recipe for this dish and the ingredients that comprise it. Originating from Rome, and relying primarily on eggs and bacon, the addition of cream is a relatively recent one. Personally, we like ours made with good quality, fresh pasta (preferably from our local Italian deli, Valvona and Crolla), two eggs yolks, Parmesan shavings, pancetta and a small splash of double cream. The splash of cream, I must reiterate, is neither traditional nor necessary, but adds additional richness to the dish. I have no doubt that Italian families, chefs and pasta lovers around they world would now use a number of demonstrative hand gestures to tell me how wrong this addition is, but that is the recipe that the OH! Taste kitchen has embraced. Until recently, that is.
Now part of a health-conscious generation, and conscious of the fact that I have to fit into a wedding dress in the not too distant future, I have been experimenting with a variety of ways to create more nutritious dishes that still taste indulgent and luxurious without the guilt. Pasta is never going to be overly healthy, but the sauce you serve it in and the ingredients you add can be packed with flavour, vitamins and nutrients. Our solution, Greek Yoghurt Carbonara.
We use courgettes, peas, basil, sliced pancetta, Greek yoghurt, parmesan and lemon juice to make a sharp, velvety sauce that is light, fresh and perfect for a Summer meal with friends.
A spiraliser can be used to create courgette strings, perfect in the place of pasta although these too can be bought ‘ready spiralised’ from supermarkets. The pancetta and pesto chicken can easily be substituted for additional vegetables, or left out completely for a vegetarian dish that is just as flavoursome meat free. Vegetarians rejoice – we will not be serving you mushroom risotto!
- 320g fresh spagetti or tagliatelle
- 100g frozen peas
- ½ fresh red chilli, chopped finely
- olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 4x courgettes (either spiralised in the place of pasta or sliced with a peeler)
- 1 large egg
- 2 heaped tablespoons fat-free natural yoghurt
- juice of ½ a lemon
- 50g Basil, roughly chopped
- Parmesan, to taste
- Put the pasta into the lidded pan, cover with boiling salted water and cook according to packet instructions.
- Gently fry chicken with chopped chilli.
- Beat the egg, lemon juice, yoghurt and remaining finely grated parmesan together in a bowl.
- Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of the starchy cooking water.
- Toss the pasta into the chicken pan, remove from the heat and mix well with the creamy sauce, loosening with a splash of cooking water, if needed, then season to taste.
- Season with salt and pepper, add basil and sprinkle of parmesan to taste.