My version of the classic Carbonara.
Carbonara is my go-to dish when I have nothing prepared for dinner for the week or weekend. It’s simple, delicious and very satisfying. It’s also really inexpensive to make. Most of the ingredients in a classic carbonara are probably already sitting somewhere in your pantry or fridge. You can use any type of pasta noodle for this dish really but my favourite is always the papperdelle – I tend to keep a few packets of that on hand.
Although there are so many different ways to make the perfect carbonara, the good news is there isn’t a “perfect” way to cook it. It has taken me at least 3 or 4 tries to get it to taste the way I love (I’d accidentally turned the sauce into scrambled eggs before). Don’t worry about getting this recipe right or following everything to a tee. This dish is forgiving and so fun to make and experiment with! The only golden rule is to make sure you take the pan off the heat when you add your cheese in – this is the rule for any dish!
Seafood Carbonara for the mid-week grind
or treat for your surprise guest.
I really love making Carbonara because it’s so versatile as well. I’ll never get sick of the simple classic but if I want to change it up, I’ll just add chorizo, veggies or in this case shellfish. My seafood Carbonara is a fresh and elegant twist to the classic. This can be made in under 3o minutes – great for a busy mid-week or wow’ing a surprise guest after a long work day (we’ve all been there before and scrambled only to resort to Uber Eats). Another favourite add-on of mine is to drizzle a touch of truffle oil to finish the dish. Add another level of earthiness to the dish.
As much as this is a pasta dish, this dish comes out very light and fresh yet very hearty and satisfying. Give it a try for your mid-week rut. Have you tried another version of carbonara?
Light & Hearty Seafood CarbonaraPrint Recipe
- 200 g tiger prawns
- 200 g pasta clams
- 400g pappardelle pasta
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 50 g diced pancetta or lardons
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
- 2 tbsp butter
- Juice of 1 lemon and zest
- 2 cups grated parmesan
- 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup pasta water
In large pot, boil water and cook pappardelle pasta. Once cooked, save 1 cup of the pasta water and set both cooked pasta and pasta water aside
In a large skillet on medium-high, heat olive oil and half the butter. Brown the pancetta
Once pancetta is brown, add prawns. Season to taste and add chili flakes (if desired)
In the mean time, in a mixing bowl, mix half the parmesan, eggs, black pepper, lemon zest until well combined
When prawns are cooked, add pasta into skillet and mix.
Place clams on top of pasta, lower heat and cover with lid. Keep lid closed until all claim shells have opened up. See my notes below on how to detect "bad clams"
Once all of your clams are cooked, carefully remove them from the skillet and place on a separate place and keep aside.
Pour your pasta water in the skillet and turn off the heat
Pour your parmesan, eggs, lemon zest and black pepper mixture all over your dish and mix well. Remember to do this step off the heat
Toss in the remaining butter and mix well. Then squeeze remaining lemon juice and mix well
Plate on a large serving dish and place clams back on top of the dish
Garnish with more parmesan and parsley (optional)
You'll need a large skillet with a lid When you buy your clams, make sure they are all closed. Toss out any open shells. If you have any clams that remain closed after you've cooked your clams, toss those out as well.