Spaghetti carbonara with roasted tomato salad

    35 min

    This version of an all-time favourite makes use of lower-fat dairy products and dry-cured ham instead of bacon to make a healthier dish with no compromise on flavour. To complete the meal, a salad suggestion is included as part of the recipe, but you can always make your favourite leafy accompaniment if you prefer.

    4 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 340 g (12 oz) spaghetti
    • 100 g (3½ oz) Parma ham or Serrano ham, trimmed of excess fat
    • 3 eggs
    • 5 tbsp single cream
    • 3 tbsp ricotta cheese
    • 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • salt and pepper
    • Roasted tomato salad
    • 450 g (1 lb) cherry tomatoes or baby plum tomatoes, halved
    • 2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
    • 8 large sprigs of fresh basil, shredded
    • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
    • mixed green salad leaves, such as frisée, rocket, watercress, Little Gem lettuce hearts and/or shredded Chinese leaves
    • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
    • ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
    • 1 small bulb of fennel, halved and thinly sliced

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:35min 

    1. Prepare the salad first. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F, gas mark 7). Place the tomatoes in a shallow ovenproof dish, cut sides up. Sprinkle with the garlic slices and basil. Season to taste and trickle the oil over. Roast for 10 minutes.
    2. Mix the salad leaves in a serving dish. Add the onion, cucumber and fennel. When the tomatoes are done, spoon them, with all their hot juices, over the greens.
    3. While the tomatoes are roasting, cook the spaghetti in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
    4. Meanwhile, dry-fry the slices of ham in a very hot, heavy-based frying pan for 2–3 minutes or until just crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper, then crumble or snip into small pieces. Set aside.
    5. Beat the eggs with the cream, then mix in the ricotta, half of the Parmesan and a little seasoning.
    6. Drain the pasta. Return the empty pan to the heat and pour in the egg mixture. Heat for about 1 minute over a low heat, stirring constantly, then tip the drained pasta back into the pan.
    7. Toss the spaghetti with the creamy egg, working quickly to coat the strands with the mixture. The heat of the pan and the hot pasta will lightly set the eggs to form a creamy sauce.
    8. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining Parmesan cheese and the ham, and accompanied by the roasted tomato salad.

    Some more ideas

    For a meat-free version, briefly cook 8 finely shredded large sage leaves in 15 g (½ oz) butter in the empty pasta pan before adding the egg mixture. * Instead of roasting the tomatoes for the salad, they can be grilled. Preheat the grill to high. Sprinkle the tomato halves with the garlic and oil, but not the basil, and grill for 5 minutes. Add the basil to the salad leaves. * Reduced-fat crème fraîche or even low-fat quark can be used instead of cream. Both of these will contribute a slightly tangy flavour to the dish. They will also reduce the saturated fat content.

    Plus points

    Serving an interesting salad as an important part of a meal is a good way to avoid over-indulging in fatty foods. * Pasta scores healthily low on the Glycaemic Index, which means that it breaks down slowly into glucose and glycogen in the body, providing long-lasting energy.

    Each serving provides

    A, B1, B12, niacin, calcium * B2, C, folate, copper, potassium, zinc * B6, E, selenium

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    Tried this last night, took about 45 mins, had to substitute some of the ingredients - used bacon instead of ham, milk instead of cream, cheddar instead of ricotta & parmesan, and it tasted great. I would definitely cook it again using the specified ingredients!!  -  04 Mar 2009